Opinion: What Do Two “Rights” Make?


chareidim1By  M. Rubin, Matzav.com

Let me share with you the following story:

I was once on a bus sitting next to someone else from my community, and he was asking me how I enjoyed living there.  I told him that overall I was happy, but amongst other things that slightly bothered me, were the people I felt “didn’t belong” in Lakewood.  My example was a couple who lived in my development.  The husband only seemed to appear for the occasional shabbos tefillah, and talked profusely throughout the davening.  The wife would walk around the development with her snood pushed very far back, and her sleeves rolled up above the elbows.  I concluded to my seatmate that such behavior was well below the accepted standards of the community as a whole, and having such people around was not fair to the rest of us who lived in this community because we wanted a more Torahdike standard of living.  He then asked me if I lived in such and such development, to which I responded in the affirmative. 

“Oh, you must be talking about my brother in-law and his wife.” 

 I was shocked when he confirmed the couple’s name, and then he proceeded to explain as follows: 

When they were younger, the young couple had been “teens at risk” and one of them had actually gone off the derech for a period.  Eventually, they settled down as they got older, and a shadchan matched them up.  “My in-laws were so happy when they decided to live in this community,” he concluded.  “They were so proud that he realized it was better for him to live in this type of atmosphere.” 

Ouch. Lesson learned…I think.

Some of us are very confident with our levels of Yiddishkeit, and we don’t want anything that proposes a challenge to that in our lives.  Others wish we were better, and acknowledge the room for improvement.  Sometimes people make drastic changes to better themselves; sometimes they accept the status quo. 

There is also the aspect of people recognizing a better manner of living, and at least wanting to expose themselves and their families to it.  Some men know they didn’t utilize their time in yeshiva as much as they could have, or that full time learning wasn’t meant for them, but they still desire the ma’alos of a ben Torah lifestyle.  One of my roshei yeshiva once said that it is better to be a janitor of a yeshiva than to have nothing to do with the yeshiva at all.

So how is one supposed to feel?  On one hand you might be a very erhlicher yungerman, and you didn’t think that in a place like the community in which you live you would have to explain to your kids that you don’t eat cholov stam, but it really is kosher, etc.  On the other hand, how about someone who knows that they won’t have a TV in their house solely by the virtue of being in such a yeshivishe neighborhood, but they still aren’t ready to part with a daily subscription to a newspaper, and they don’t want to be vilified for it?

“Don’t I have a right to want to have a sheltered lifestyle for me and my family?”

“Don’t I have a right to want to live in a community with many bnei Torah, even though I’m not so yeshivish?”

Do two seemingly conflicting “rights” mean that someone is wrong?

What do two “rights” make?

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  1. If you want a place where you’re sheltered, move to a cave somewhere. People have the right to live where they want. Remember, Lakewood had a nice Modern Orthodox community before R’ Ahron started BMG. They were pretty much forced out of town.

  2. Required reading by Rabbi/Dr. Ahron Hershel Fried, “Are our Children Too Worldly”. Google his name and the long 54 pg article can be downloaded. A must to understand chinuch, sheltered life (is it possible)is it worth it?

  3. It seems that Orthowatch is a bit of an agendist, however, while his point dripping with hatred or jealousy, somewhere amidst the quagmire he does have a valid point. G-d put us in a world where every second of the day we have the opportunity to have a positive influence or G-d forbid the opposite. While many of us seek a sheltered community with the expressed purpose of raising a family along the path of Torah and Avodah which of course is our purpose of existence the manner that we sometmes wish to do that is incorrect. The Jews of the desert in the worst way wanted to remain there, enjoying a close relationship with G-d, living a very metaphysical reality where open miracles were performed regularly before their eyes with very little detractors holding themk back from their service. Clearly, however, this is not what G-d intended for our world. He wants us to live a physical world where G-dliness is concealed giving us the opportunity to reveal it and elevate the mundane all around us. So in essence, wanting to live in a gthetto where you and your family could practice Torah and Mitzvos without anyone getting in the way is really taking a step back, while we are meant to move forward. Its not a punnishment to have to approach our children and explain to them things that might confuse their childlike innocence and naivete – it is a part of reality. Jews who do not acribe to our level of observance are still part of the Nation of Israel and deserve our love and respect, in explaining this to our children we should not talk derogatorily about this people because that would be instilling bad charater traits in them for the future. However, we should teach them to judge others favorably, let them know that they have an opportunity to have an indirect positive influence on the people living in their midst and in this way they will grow up walking purtely in the way of G-d.

  4. I would like to share a similar experience that I experienced in an out of town community. When I was first married and was visiting my in-laws in an out of town community, I went to shul and saw teenaged boys davening in shul and in middle of davening they were chewing gum. This greatly shocked & disturbed me.
    However after visiting more often and getting to know the community, I learned that these boys were actually “bni aliyah” and constantly growing and advancing in their frumkeit. I learned a big lesson not to judge at first sight.

  5. #2: Why should we? Many Rabbonim, when called cavemen, said yes, we are, and we’re proud of it. Face the facts: you’re not going to be able to shelter your children well in modern society. The more you try, the worse they fall.

  6. I understand the point of someone wanting their children to be sheltered but IMO, children will grow and learn a lot more when they see that people are different from them and that Mommy and Totty dont say anything that denigrates the “less frum”. They learn to recognize that we are a part of one whole, not each one a separate entity.

  7. “I told him that overall I was happy, but amongst other things that slightly bothered me, were the people I felt ‘didn’t belong’ in Lakewood.”

    Well, who exactly are you? I’m sure you do something that someone more chashuv than you disapproves of. Post like this make me ill.

  8. SDR – this is not an issure of ‘chashuv’ things, or midas chassidus – covering hair and elbows is a clear-cut halacha, so is talking in shul. People have a right to be offended when others do evil things in front of them, influencing their surroundings(especially vis a vis tznius – you dont want to know what prutzos do to those around them) and others’ children. I can understand wanting to live in a community of bnei torah while not living up to the correct standard – but at least with things befarhesiah, like shabbos, and tznius, one must conform to halacha or get the boot – plain and simple.

    Sdr – people ho violate halacha like that could be said do not belong in a torah community. If someone walked around naked, you’d aree we should throw them out if they didn’t agree to dress. Well, the torah calls hair of a married lady nakedness – there you have it.

    Orthowatch is quoting norman lamm’s comments(and incidentally, the rosh yeshivos, namelty rav gifter and true talmidei chachamim who dont even believe in cavemen to begin with, said that ‘takeh, we are cavemen, azoi shtaiten medrash…’ about avraham avinu living in a cave) Lamm’s comments were just as full of sinas chinam as yours. No one has any problem with ‘modern orthodox’ people living in a community – if they dress tznius – not with chumros, just plain halacha(for the recrod, communities have a right to make takanos, if you odnt like it, or you feel it’s backard, then LEAVE and join the fast track to gehinnom with the rest of the women who walk around in total rebellion against hashem and torah, flouting how ‘modern’ they are with their ervah).

    Sheltering might not be feasible. whatever – but it doesn’t mean you have to like it, or thin it’s ‘healthy’ like you peope do with your apikorsus. rabbi zechariah wallerstein gave a nice moshol from a certain rosh yeshiva – there once was a bird who fell out of its nest, and broke its wing. A cow walked near it and relieved itself on the bird. Now, the bird, being naive and innocent, and ostensibly lacking the ability to smell, was very happy – it was in a nice warm blanket. Along comes a farmer, and hearing the beard tweet, cleans it off, and sets the wing – he then nurses the bird back to health. When it’s old enough to be on it’s own, the bird ‘says'(again, this is a moshol), that it’s very unhappy with the farmer – he as enjoying his ‘pile’ just fine until the nasty farmer cleaned it off of him, and hurt his wing by setting it. Of course, the bird is foolish, as it’s terrible to be under excrement. The rosh yeshiva compared this to us in america – america did its business on klal yisroel; filling them with tumah she’ain kemohu. One can lose kedushah in a second that would have taken 70 years back in europe.

    The difference, orthowatch, between torah jews and your ilk, is that while torah jews understand that there may be negative results when you shelter your children, and that it’s not always possible, and that yes eventually they will get exposed, we understand that Tumah = bad, that this HURTS neshomos, and that we’re not willing to make cheshbonos about injecting tumah into a poor child. Much like a doctor will not put a dead virus as a vaccine into his patient without knowing he can handle it – there’s just too much at stake. To you, and your assimilated minds, with your ‘enlightened’ ideas, it is more important to practically preserve whatever feeble level of yiddishkeit you expect your children(and yourself) to have, than it is to guard against the disgusting culture in whcih we live.

    MO, and you, are that bird. You’re crawling in filth your entire life, and you’re mocking the ones who are clean. You’re so entrenched in tumah, movies, television, illicit relationships(even ‘platonic’ ones), you think it’s not even hamrful, or that if it is harmful, it’s a small price to pay for being ‘engaged in society’ and not being ‘cavemen’, backward in our holy lives. This is the indictment of MO – not the ridiculously low standards of observance, not the tolerance of apikorsus, but this – you love it. I once heard from a kid who thought that shomer negiah(a phrase most yeshivos have never heard of – they simply know it as the issur deoraysoh of touching women) was not obligatory, that you can’t follow the words of the shulchan aruch(lihisracheik meod meod min hanaishim, one may not socialize with women! one may not stare at women, or have them as friends, or anything of the sort!), since if you follow them, you’ll be overhwelmed by women in the street and so on.

    The answer to this is more kedushah, not less. Whatever cheshbonons you may have, whatever sevaros, they just dont cut it – tumah is something to avoid, plain and simple; be close-minded, be closed off, be a cavemen, but at least you’ll be a cavemen with an olam haba and a kedushah that will make those ‘integrated with society’ red in the face.

    Even reb yoshe ber said that modern orthodoxy does not have the spiritual power to rise to great heights. He felt it was the way to salvage orthodoxy – he knew it was tumah, but he felt this was the only way – people like you, on the other hand, enjoy tumah, and live with it, contaminating your souls on a daily basis, while poking fun at those who sincerely wish to live holy lifestyles.

    You should be ashamed of yourself. Spiritually, you’re a cavemen.

  9. I love this site please stay on it instead of other shmootzika ones. bemes klal yisrael you wont have this problem very longer Maybe just a little while more at most the geulah is imminent please fatsen your seat belts we will be in Jerusalem air hakodesh in an extremely short whille. I cant wait till dance the horah when its finally here. With lakewooders boroparkers flatbushers mizrachis litvishers lubaviters gerim bal teshuvahs jeans modernones frummies ahhhh Ah im loi achsev aimatai

  10. The families that move to Lakewood now know that they are moving in because of the society that was created by the Yeshiva Community. (DON’T GIVE ME THAT LINE THAT THERE WAS A COMMUNITY BEFORE REB AARON ZTZL) In accordance it is only appropriate to conform to the norms of the native society. Yes, you may be better off here than elsewhere. BUT you have a responsibility to the community around you too. Why must the yeshiva community and its children need to be exposed to moderated adherence to Torah. I am sure you would understand fully that, say Kiryas Yoel, would have a right to demand a certain mode of behavior if you wish to reside there.

  11. What’s the problem with two people having a converstion on a bus? The writter wasn’t getting up and publicly denouncing people, or saying he was a chushov authority- he was answering somenone’s questions about how he viewed living in Lakewood.
    Can’t people have opinions?

  12. Reply to number 11:

    While my comment is directed towards Matis in post 11 it is equally applicable to the general tone of condescension found amongst many of the posts. It is kind of interesting, if you’ll analyze that a majority of the time where a topic of this sort, involving the ‘Yeshivishe velt’ is brought to the fore, the comments back and forth make the casual reader feel as if they are caught in a cross-fire. Without pointing fingers or placing blames, which generally do not accomplish much, I feel this stems from the icons in the Yeshiva world who have always spoke so passionately about “Kanous” and fighting the holy war of God, whose favorite parsha in the Torah was Parshas Pinchos which affords them the opportunity to bring their point home with a fervor. May I point out that the term holy war belongs to the Muslims. What particularly piqued my curiosity was the analogy of the Bird and the cow that excreted on it and the farmer cleaning up the excrement and setting the bird free. The problem with this analogy is the way in which good and evil are perceived and ultimately dealt with. In the Nimshal of America dropping Tumah of the sort that Europe in the days of yore never experienced and its ability to strip 70 years of acquired holiness in a split second, we first have to take a second to think where this Tumah originates? We all believe that God is the sole creator of this world. We also believe that God created this world out of a desire to want to bestow goodness and kindness upon his creations, as the Ramchal and many others write, “Derech Hatoiv Leheitiv im Bruav”. God, being the epitome of Goodness, how is it possible for Him to create evil. What emerges upon further study is that evil is just a perversion or misappropriation of good. In fact, we are all a piece of the divine. We say every morning, “The Nishama that you gave me is pure, formed, created and blown within me by You”. Even those Jews who don’t recite this out of hatred or ignorance cannot escape being a piece of God above. Without getting too carried away, prior this world of action, known also in Chassidus as the world of rectification or tikkun, there existed a world known as olam hatohu or confusion (as in the verse in the beginning of Bereishis, “In the beginning God created the Heavens and Earth. And the Earth was filled with confusion and desolation etc….) where God created worlds which were destroyed as a result of the intensity of the ‘light’ emanating from within the divine consciousness which caused the vessels which were supposed to contain them to explode. As a result of this explosion the shards of these vessels fell to the ground allowing the sitra achra or forces of impurity to mix in with the particles of holiness attached to these shattered vessels. With this the concept of evil was born. With the creation of Man, God intended the world to be elevated to the point where his Glory can once again be present throughout this lowest world of existence where He was at the outset. This goes hand in hand with the verse in Bereishis, “Let us make man” According to one of the explanations we are partners in the creation of this world. By us refining, not shunning the seemingly evil of this world we are in essence carrying out the purpose of creation and doing what is expected of us. Obviously, we cant get carried away by placing ourselves in spiritual annihilation, taking challenges upon ourselves that we cannot endure or champion. However, the Toldos Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye as well as his contemporaries and Students of the Besht, echo their Rebbes call to sacrifice yourself on some level to elevate those on a lower spiritual standing. God in creating this world in essence experienced a yerida l’tzorech aliyah and we have the commandment of vehalachta bedrachav. Returning to my earlier comment, we have been given an opportunity towards having a positive influence on our surroundings and to embrace our fellow Jews while at the same time explaining to our youth the same message so as not to misunderstand and apply our message of universal love and acceptance. As an earlier poster wrote, this is the manner towards raising a sincerely healthy family. The same applies amongst us pushing our opinions in this public forum. There is no need to bash. Anyone who does is revealing their true intent and the editors should do their due diligence in limiting insincere posters who are not looking out for the betterment of society.I speak with sincerity and I hope that my words are taken, considered and applied towards creating an atmosphere of unity amongst us all and the coming of the final redemption speedily in our days.

  13. Cheers and applause for reb matis. Now for #6, “The more you try [to shelter your kids], the worse they fall.” This is patently false and I dare anyone to contend otherwise – with facts please. In my experience, the frummer the community, the less kids rebel and the smaller the extent of the rebellion of the few who do. Just one example: The policewoman featured here on Matzav is the very worst OTD kid of the Monsey Satmar community. She’s a terrible disgrace to her family and the whole community.

  14. Totally agree with Orthowatch. Fact is, judgment should be done by the one above, not by the hoiler than thou frumma yid who has nothing better to do than look at others. Lashon Horah is the main reason for the situation that we find ourselves in today… and sinas chinum is only fueled by that.

    If the person doesn’t like what his neighbors are doing, let him move. It’s obviously not bothering his neighbors, but it bothers him? What a twit.

  15. He wanted a more “toradik” standard of living? Well, Obviously, dan l’kaf zchus, lashon horah, and judging others are not nearly as important as living in a toradik “standard”. Obviously it is far more important to look the right way than to act the right way, right?

  16. #18
    What in the world are you talking about. You are ranting. There is a discussion here. No names. Looking right and acting right are both important. The question here is what are the individuals “rights’ in relationship to a community.

  17. Welfare Rebbe,

    Oy. Efsher go cash your welfare check and continue watching the soaps. Your favorite “holier than thou” phrase is getting a bit ragged; time to spiff up the vocabulary.

  18. #15
    Beautiful and totally off. The idea of yeridah Lzorach Alliah that the Talmidei Bal Shem espoused was not for the laymen but for those in leadership who are creating a path for others ant Yeridah was sometimes necessary for the greater good. AND a person of that caliber. They would never allow just anyone to put himself in the place of yeridah for the sake of Zorich Alliya. That type of Yerida is Yerida L’Zorach Yeridah

  19. Why are you condemning the writer? He clearly says he leanred a lesson from his jumping to conclussions about people.
    And in a place like Lakewood why should he move out because he thought it was a more frum place? Someone before gave the example of Kiryas Yoel- would you tell chassidim to leave if they didn’t like the way a lady was walking around pritzusdik?
    And calling the writer a “twit” for not fully understanding the situation and commenting is pretty hypocritical, no?

  20. Lots of ranting and raging on this post.

    Once again read the article by Rav/Dr. Fried, where the sources are Rav Yakov Kaminetsky, Rav Schwab and others–it may open up eyes that want to be opened.

    “quoting norman lamm’s comments” PERSONALLY I am wondering how many of you ever heard Rabbi Lamm’s speech when he mentions ‘cavemen’, it is a lesson to be learned how a LIE BECOMES A FACT. Rav Gifter’s response was made by what he WAS TOLD rabbi lamm said (heard from his son). Pays to listen to his dvar torah when he mentions ‘cavemen’, but then again why know the TRUTH when i am so comfortable with my POV anyway.

  21. sickened by the taliban way of thinking….stop judging everyone else…what ever happened to vahavta lereiacha komocha?

  22. 16, the way you phrased yourself discredits you.
    The worst kind of OTD? Then how did she get accepted into police academy?
    Please don’t answer. I don’t want this belabored or any more lashon hara or rechilus. I just stared a machsom l’fi and am going to have to remember not to check out matzav.com during those hours, r”l.
    Can we talk nicely about people we have issues with?

  23. hadenough – im sick of the american, ‘let everyone do their own thing’ way of thinking. No one’s judging anyone – actions, however, are to be judged(the average person who learns anything a day judges constantly, assur, mutar, tamei, tahor, etc..) – nothing I said came from the ‘taliban’ – nor was it judging anyone – it is simply that there is tumah in the world. We do not want that tumah. We want to be as far from it as possible. Pretty simple.

    YG should eat cyanide)(cv’s), since it too was created by hashem. While you’re at it, go eat trief, since that too was created by hashem – ugh, this is sickening and a total distortion of chassidus. Just because there is a small amount of kedushah(which incidentally, feeds the yatzer hora, since nothing can exist without kedushah, the small tiny bit of kledushah in something bad gives it chiyus – a concept not exclusive to chassidus but found all over the place, in arizal etc..), does not mean something is ok or that we shouldn’t be upset over it.

    When something os soul-destroying and tumah-dik, it doesn’t matter if there’s an infintisemly small amount of kedushah – pshat is like this: the kedushah and all that is not mitzad us. Averos damage us and the world, and our connection to hashem(ever see the mezritcher maggid on ‘man dealach sanai, lechavercha lo saavid’?) It’s metzad the emes that we have no hasagah of. What you’re saying is very dangerous and misleading. We do not go near tumah. ‘yerudah letzoric aliyah’ does not include making nisyonos or chas veshalom doing aveors, it it a concept that comes from the pasuk ‘sheva panim yipol tzadik vekam’, which means, zogt the besh”t, that because of the falls of a tzadik, he grows. This means that everyone will fall at some time – everyone kefi madregaso, but it does not mean, chas veshalom,. that one should dop averos or tolerate them.

    It’s not kanuous – it’s pashut torah hashkafa. We dont want to live around averos. Tikunim are nice, but you can be mesaken things many ways – our job is not to make cheshbonos but to do the ratzon hashem as shown in halacha. I may want to be misaken something, but if in doing so I put myself at risk for spiritual death or transgression, then im sorry, but no can do. If the opportunity is given to me for a tikun, then i have to deal with it – but not on my own cheshbon!

    You really need a rebbe when you learn these inyonim – especially the things you’re writing about do not come from chassidus that you were meant to learn without guidance. Not that im one of those people, i am surely not. You’re supposed to be outraged and offended when things happen that destroy the world and eclipse the honor of hashem. No, my favorite parshah in the torah is not pinchas; my hashkafa doesnt even come from that, but rather, from a simple reading of the mesorah of klal yisroel, just understanding what averos are and what jews do to themselves, others, and the world, when they sin. One is supposed to be upset over these things – otherwise, do you really care? If you saw someone killing someone – it would affect you; you wouldn’t look at the person the same, to say the least. How come then, you can have a cavalier attitude of tolerance and tip-toe-through-the-tulips when it comes to issurim which chazal say are worse than murder? “gadol hamachtio yoser min hahorgo’ women who walk around immodest are far worse than murderers.

    This is not a ‘yeshivish’ topic – it’s simply torah vs. tumah. It only becomes ‘controversial’ because there are those foolish enough top chuck mesorah as given over by our gedolim and instead believe they know better by thinking they understand machshava seforim, sort of like the conservatives who believe in interpreting things their own way, these people impart secular biases and interpret torah to fit their own agenda as opposed to pure mesorah.

    to hadenough – im sickened by the christian way in which people quote pesukim in vague ways with no mesorah or mekoros backing them up at all, but hey? thats life. Loving someone doesnt mean approving of their sins or living among tumah – get this drilled in as far deep as it can go, because there’s a lot of other stuff blocking the way. I love jews; even those that sin(incidentally, pashtus is you’re allowed to hate a sinner, or at least you used to be maybe not nowadays though, not a pashut zach at all, my rov says it’s better to just hate that part of the person), but it doesnt mean id want to be around them too much.

    kol tuv

  24. Tzippi, that precisely is my point. The worst OTD kid in insular, super-frum Satmar-Monsey is no worse than this policewoman. That wasn’t meant as lashon harah on the girl, but as lashon tov on the kehila.

  25. It is extremely important for me to define the terms I used, which, if misunderstood, can give the reader a terrible impression: When I said intolerant, or tolerance in general, I meant tolerating a community-wide abandonment of observance of halachos, or a community-wide hashkafic problem, or having the anti-torah attitude of ‘live and let live’. This does not mean, chas veshalom, to be violent to those who are oiver – this is totally assur and not what I meant at all(although im sure people will take it to mean that, and ignore what I said as being ‘fanatical’).

    I would also like to quote the chazon ish on extremism as seen by those who continually misunderstand the rambam that’s thrown around these circles(which is of course, talking about midos with no shaychus to general avodas hashem) “Just as simplicity and truth are separate entities, so are extremism and greatness separate entities: Extremism is the perfection of the topic. One who waves the banner of moderation and hates extremism, is in the same camp as liars or imbeciles. If there is no extremism there is no perfection and without perfection there is no beginning. For the beginning is with constant questioning and doubts, and perfection is the sharp reply which puts each statement in the right and truthful place.

    “We are used to hearing certain circles declare that they are not extremists, and yet still consider themselves faithful Jews with enough faith in Torah and Torah opinion. From an arbitrary point of view, we say that just as there are among the lovers of wisdom none who love just a little wisdom and hate a lot of wisdom, so among the lovers of Torah and its commandments there is no love of mediocrity and hatred for extremism” (from a letter to a Rosh Yeshiva, Yalkeit Daas Torah)

    This is where I get my hashkafa from. Rav Avigdor Miller spent a large part of his seforim talking about the need to stay away from wicked people, or those who do not follow the torah, or even those who are observant yet still tied to tumah. He also advised to not allow our children to go to modern orthodox relatives – this was an ish emes. emes demands not caring about what others think – drop the sad liberal unity garbage – unity does not exist without unifying g-d’s name, which is done through being torah jews ‘bayom hahu yeheyeh hashem echad ushmo echad’ – achdus is great, but not with those who are ‘poired’ hashem’s name, with their tumah – that’s not achdus, that’s evil.

  26. I also wanted to add on, that I did not mean to, chas veshalom, alienate jews who have lost their way, or to avoid kiruv for these reasons – emes demands that we know the truth regardless of the practical considerations – the truth is, doing kiruv can be bad for a person on some level, yet he must do it as it is a mitzvah; same thing goes for heping kids and adults who are off the derech – tolerating them and reaching out to them without judging them is beautiful and a huge mitzvah – i was refering to ideologies when i said that tolerance is bad; we are not to tolerate any ideology that opposes the torah.

  27. Goyim have decided to employ the notion of rights, however (outside of dinai mamonus)do Yidden have rights? Yidden have duties to, and a relationship with Hakodosh baruch hu, and nothing else. Our duties include:
    -halachic behavior
    -ahavas Yisroel-even when it feels uncomfortable
    -to be melamed zechus-even when kanaus feels better
    -bechol midoh umidoh sheHu moded loch-including your “new” neighborhood-hevai modeh lo meod
    Furthermore, even though “those” individuals elected to be the messengers, it was Hashem’s doing that the matzav has become what it is. How can you (think you have a “right” to) be angry at Hashem’s doing?
    Your commitment to your DUTIES to Hashem are being tested. How do you measure up?

  28. you’re right to ane xtent – the goyishe version of rights is indeed messed up, as in freedom of speech, expression, being able to walk around unclothed, etc…however the torah does employ something similar to rights – a yid for example, has a right to privacy(hezek riah) in the torah, and many other things like that. Also, when I said communities have a ‘right’, I didn’t mean in the legal sense, but rather, just logically, that communities should have the ability to eject people not living up to the standard they want(not on a private level, but on an overt level which wil influence others ‘oi lerasha veoi leshechainoi’ applies). Rav Avigdor Miller zt’l constantly talked about the need to distance one’s self from those who are not holding on the right level – it’s not judging or lacking ahavas yisroel(which of course, is used in a goyishe sense nowadays) to simply not want your kids to be around arayos like women’s hair and elbows. One kollel yungerman from out of town lived ins uch a community where tznius is lax and even beyond isurim – he is now frum and maried, baruch hashem, with kids.

    The guy, despite his learning in other areas which is quite impressive, thinks that covering hair is a matter of ‘hashkafa’. ugh.Do you think that happens in KJ and lakewood? No, it doesn’t, because there arent women walking around like they think there’s nothing wrong with being bareheaded. Once they do, innocent minds think ‘if so and so, who’se a nice lady, does this, and she’s frum, it can’t be that bad’, and it gets even worse when there are many people doing it – no, this is just too wrong.

    In one shul, a professor was not given an aliyah because he dared to put down the sacred cow that is the state of israel in a book he wrote(a good read actually, called ‘the threat from within’), yet if the same person had a wife who did not cover her hair, no one would object. It’s a crazy system – we dont want lakewood to become like certain other communities where there is mixing of the genders among teenagers in an open, approved-of manner, we dont want women walking around like shiksas while professing to keep shabbos and kashrus, we dont want our kids to think that hertzl was a tzadik and that it’s questionable if you can call the satmar rov a tzadik, and we dont want our kids to believe that your guage of who a gadol is is if he went to college or not, or that ‘shomer negiah’ is optional, and so on.

  29. I too live in Lakewood for many years and I too am dismayed when I see pritzus in our community. Lakewood had a certain respect by outsiders of being Ir HaTorah. Now it still has a great yeshiva, but, there are so many here that do not look “Yeshivish”, it bothers me a lot. I don’t know what we can do, because we don’t own Lakewood, and can’t tell people they can’t move here. we can teach our children, what is expected of a Torah Yid, we can set them good examples, and we can be careful, who they associate with, and then we have to hope for the best. We also have to be a good example to those who need kiruv.

  30. matis, you have a lot to learn about loving your fellow Jew.
    You have no idea what Modern Orthodoxy is about. I suggest you learn about it before passing judgment. Are there people who do wrong? yes, of course. I can name many supposedly frum, chareidi people doing wrong also. Is that what Torah Judasim (as you call it) is about?
    Seriously, do some research before making accusations.

    #16 (AA): I’ve seen it myself. It is true. The kids who are insulated the most fall the most, because everything is so new and exciting to them. They have no experience in how to control themselves.
    Modern Orthodoxy thinks that since exposure is unavoidable, instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, educating the kids is better. Teach them that things are wrong, instead of trying to hide them from it.

  31. AA, on these comment pages we all of us could use some editing, but I still can’t read that into your original comment.

    27, see my earlier comment about sanctimonious people on the internet.

  32. Tell me, Orthowatch, what would you say is the OTD rate for MO?

    Tzippi, I wrote “the very worst OTD kid” and you wrote “The worst kind of OTD?” Now tell me, did I right wrongly or did you read wrongly?

  33. AA, true, but then you go on to say how terribly embarrassing she is to the family.
    OK, it doesn’t take much to embarrass. Still, can’t help but read that into it. Sorry.

  34. AA: I don’t know what the “rate” is. I do know that even when MO kids do things that aren’t right, they still usually keep kosher and Shabbos.
    When UO kids rebel, they will usually go all the way. They stop keeping kosher, stop keeping Shabbos, etc.

    I guess it depends what you define as OTD. For some people in Lakewood, it doesn’t matter if their kid is keeping Shabbos and kosher. If they go to a movie theater, they’re considered OTD. I don’t think that’s right.

  35. WHY is she such an embarrassment? Because she is the only one! That’s my point. And if you can’t help reading your ideas into it, I’m the one who is sorry.

  36. Orthowatch, I don’t know about Yeshivish kids, but when Chassidish kids go “OTD” they mostly do what any MO kid does beheter. A good friend of mine, a social worker of our community, attended a conference of Orthodox therapists. She was surprised to learn that problems with OTD kids are much, much worse in MO communities. Whereas our unhappy boys mostly rebel by wearing colored shirts and sneakers, their kids aren’t satisfied until they’ve sunken into drugs and more. And you know what those kids, who were raised on TV, internet, etc., say to their therapists? That their parents were so terribly restrictive, so fanatical and old-fashioned, that they had no choice but to rebel.

    Of the very few chassidish OTD kids who went all the way, with chilul shabbos and treif r”l, most did teshuva after a few years and settled down on a MO level. One reason is that they’re unequipped to deal with the world out there. I’d say at least 90% of them are kids from broken homes or boys with a learning disability that wasn’t adequately addressed. Their secular education is almost non-existent, they hardly know any English, and they’re not smart enough to get ahead. So they come back to our tishen and songs and dances. A smart kid from a good home going OTD is unheard of in our communities. The overall OTD rate is at most 1%. Can anyone beat that?

  37. The gemoro says that when Moshe Rabeinu went up to shomayim he did not eat because that was the minhag hamokome – in Rome you do like the Romans. Anybody is welcome to live in Lakewood if they are willing to conform with the standards that have been in place. Nobody has the right to come to a community and violate its standards. The next thing these people will say is that their children were not accepted into a school because the father came to the interview with a blue shirt. Well, the father coming with a blue shirt is just a sign that this father is indeed not willing to conform to the standards in place.

  38. Hate to break it to you,AA but I’m from Monsey and I know cases of girls from ultra-orthodox uber-frum homes who went offa lot more than a shomer shabbos pants-wearing policewoman. I personally know one girl who used to torment my Lubavitch friend for not being “frum enough”(calling her shikse for wearing denim skirts, dangling earrings etc) and now this girl has fallen, nebech, to the point of being with non-jews, eating treif and only G-d knows what else. I also know instances of other girls who were thrown out of a known school and were denied entry into other schools now commiting the worst sort of aveiros r”l
    Simply because the media has not brought it to your attention does not mean that these tragedies do not exist and continue right in our frum, chassidish, yeshivishe, fill-in-the blank-type of jewish community. I wouldn’t hold my breath and expect headlines to appear- the whitewashed Jewish media has a difficult time acknowledging these teens’existence let alone publicizing it and as for the public media-well this isn’t exactly news is it? To them,it’s normalacy..

  39. #42, I can’t disprove that, but is the matzav worse than in more modern communities? From what I heard, I think it’s better.

  40. orthowatch, what you are saying is not modern orthodoxy, but common sense. The Satmar Dayan in belgium recently put out a remarkable sefer about today’s problems’ facing our youth, and how to deal with them from a torah perspective.

    I think there’s a miscomunication here – I did not say that children should not be told there are such things as televisions, prituzs, and so on. Exposure in a torah context would mean verbally, to tell kids that there is such a thing as X, and you should avoid it because of X – that’s normal. No significant person disagrees with thatr to my knowledge, but that is not what MO does. MO does not thihnk certain things are even bad – MO teaches children that being friends with girls is healthy, whent he torah clearly disagrees. MO also teaches that television is fine, movies are fine, goyishe music is fine, and so on – that is not the same as saying to your kid ‘moisheleh, there’s such a thing as rap music – you should avoid it because xyz, or, in the secular world boys and girls are friends, but we can’t do that because xyz’.

    If this is your definition of sheltering kids, that is, not telling them about dangerous things, then I was horribly mistaken, and I wish to ask you mechila for completely missing the boat and insulting you. For the record, I have no hatred towards you – you’re a yid, and I am not allowed to have any resentment – but just because you love a yid does not mean you have to approve of whatever shmutz there might be in his mind or what comes out of his mouth. As a matter of fact, there is a mitzvah of reiach tocheach beamisecha(not that I am being mekayam it, for various reasons), but the point remains – nowhere in torah do we find tolerance for bad ideas and hashkafos; tolerating such people is of course, quite a different story, but I am under no obligation, not do I have any reason to love the actions and philosophies that indict the modern orthodox community.

    No community shelds their kids from this knowledge – rav mattisyahu solomon shlit”a always talks at asifos ranging the gamut of issues, from cell phone/internet dangers, newspapers, all kinds of problems, and somdo plenty of other ‘charedi’ rabbonim.

    I was basing my statements about MO on my own experience(being a part of their community for some time when I first became a baal teshuvah, not too actively, but socially), and based on what ive seen their spokespeople and ‘rabbis’ say. There is no greater chilul hashem when a rabbi gets up in front of women who are becoming frum and says that he feels pain every morning when he says ‘shelo asani ishah’ – such a person is a horrid apikores, a scoffer at the dvar hashem, even if he claims he’s being ‘modern’, or whatever. It is also a chillul hashem when a musmach of the spokesperson for modern orthodoxy dances with apikorsim, hires them as ‘rebbeim’ to pump his students full of tumah, teaches bible and talmudic criticism – all under the name ‘yeshiva’. The rosh yeshivos at YU don’t have anything to do with this – they lambasted this ‘rabbi’ several times already.

    I base my criticism of MO on those people who call themselves MO – if being MO means something else, then fine – rav scwab called the entire yeshuva world ‘modern orthdodoxy’, because it’s orthodoxy taking place in the modern world. So fine, if we simply follow the torahs hashkafos and halachos, then I too am modern orthodox – it’s basically semantics. If being MO means not listening to gedolim, having a television, watching movies, not dressing tzniusdig, having co-ed lifestyles, relying on leniences from one rov and shopping around for leniences with another(for instance, when it comes to secular studies, they say they follow rav hirsch(they dont really, they just think they do), then when you tell them rav hirsch was against zionism, they’ll point you over to rav kook, when you tell them rav kook had tznius standards that are on par with satmar, and that he was against women voting(which of course, is anathema to the feminist mindset) they’ll point you to, well, nobody, but that’s besides the point) – this makes it seem pretty laughable, at least to me.

    If I have the wrong impression of modern orthodoxy, please show me a rov who is ‘modern’, who is not like this. Rav Yoshe ber doesn’t really count – he wrote himself that modern orthodoxy lacks the potential to ‘rise to the heavens’, and that he felt he was merely salvaging klal yisroel from assimilation – nowhere does he say that being ‘modern’ is the ideal, lechatchila way for a yid to serve hashem.

  41. Modern Orthodoxy does listen to Gedolim. We just have our own Gedolim (mainly from YU.) You say we shop for heterim – we don’t. We follow what our Rabbonim say. You can say the same about many things. People will be quick to rely on R’ Moshe for many things. Yet, when told that R’ Moshe held you couldn’t use Shabbos clocks, they point to R’ Shlomo Zalman. You have to ask your Rav. If he quotes from different poskim, that’s his decision. He has the knowledge to do so. MO people ask R’ Schachter, R’ Willig, R’ Lichtenstein, and others.
    You wrote earlier about how MO women dress. Do some of them dress inappropriately? Yes. However, it is never taught that it’s ok to do so! If you ask any MO Rabbi if it’s ok for a married woman to have her hair uncovered, they’ll never say it’s ok. The same applies for many other things. We just realize that excommunicating someone for that will do more harm than good.
    You just mentioned the musmach of YU who has problems. Yes, we all know about him. Almost nobody in the MO world approves of him. You want to get into people who had semicha from right-wing yeshivos with me? Don’t bother trying. It won’t end very well.
    Chareidim judge MO by things that they see people doing, yet they get upset when others judge Chareidim by things that happen there. When all the people were arrested in Deal and Williamsburg, did people say Chareidim are all terrible, and their beliefs are all wrong? If it was said, how did Chareidim react to that?
    You’re doing the same exact thing.

  42. in my familly thier are major disagreements aboutMO all i can tell you is that a cousin of mine once siad she is MO that when children become more frum from a MO familly is the same thig as when a yishivish family has a child that goes of the reg derech is that sad or what my other cousin argued withh her and siad your conpairing drugs to someone who wants to live a frummer life style sad or what thats what we are dealing with and yes we should be more accepting and dont look at our niebor if they are not like us dounly

  43. ortho – there’s a huge difference between the heterim shopping I was talking about, and what the yeshiva world does. There is a reason hy modern people follow the above heterim – it suits a certain philosophy. Every segment of klal yisroel follows kulos. Chassidim have their kulos, the yeshivos all did(the hoicher shemoneh esrei comes to mind), but those were things that were done lehaym shomayim. I simply do not understand how any of the differences between hat is common in the MO world and what is conversely unacceptable in the yeshiva world, fits into that cateogry of being leshaym shomayim.

    Also, it’s not judging by what we’re seeing – it’s judging by what is tolerated and known as normal in MO circles. Only in an MO circle would hertzl be called a tzadik, while the tzidkus of the Satmar Rov would come into question. Such things are taught in MO schools, preached at MO homes by parents, and are community-wide norms.(so is the negiah issue, as well as televisions, sinas chinam by thinking of the yeshiva world a ‘backard’, friendships between boys and girls, tznius standards that are unacceptable(we even got a letter from women representing a certain community saying that the rabbis have no right to say they weren’t tznius, and that they, of course, self-righteosuly, dress with dignity, etc..).

    That’s the difference. In the yeshiva world, dirty laundry is dirty. In MO, it’ clean as as a whistle.

    I do not know of any MO homes where there is not a TV. Now, this is totally normalized in the community – the rosh yeshivos at YU, I do not think, try to stop it; nor is anything done about the universal mixing of genders which is equally unacceptable. All jews are imperfect – the difference, said the chazon ish, between the MO velt, is that they made their beinonish lifestyle into a shitah. I do not think half of the things that are accepted in the MO community come from rav hershel shechter or rav willig.

    The fact that I cannot distinguish an average Mo boy on the street, save for a yarmulkah, from his goyishe counterpart speaks for itself.

  44. We seem to have a “holy war” going on here – Matis vs. Orthowatch.

    My position is “eileh v’eileh, divrei Elokim Chaim.” However, my sympathies are more with Orthowatch. I became frum before there was a kiruv movement. The people who taught me were mostly from pre-war Europe. I didn’t hear a lot of this “This one is good and that one is bad.” They didn’t turn their noses up because this one was too frum and that one wasn’t frum enough. The joke then was: If you’re stricter than me you’re meshuge frum and if you’re less strict you’re an apikores.”

    Now that isn’t a joke anymore. People are deadly serious about it. So she pushes her snood back a bit too far? Look, she’s covering her hair. A blue shirt? So what?

    The problem with Lakewood in general is that it’s a “youth culture.” Lots of young people living together without older generations around, all trying to “belong.” We had that in the ’60s – a bunch of sheep doing drugs and pretending to do radical politics, because each was trying to impress the other with how “advanced” they were.

    Now everyone is playing “I’m frummer than you are.” Same deal. Sheep are sheep, whether they’re wearing bell-bottom jeans or Borsalino hats. Think a bit about it – how much does it matter whether someone is MO or yeshivish or Chassidish or what. The important thing is that we’re all children of the same Avinu shebeshomayim.

    And remember – it’s Elul.

  45. I would have to guess that the average age of the commenters on this post are between 20 and 35 tops. Most of you are clueless about life before the 1980’s and are showing it.

  46. this hole thing is really sad i live in lakewood sinse im a little kid how much better the upbringing of mine and that of my pears was obvious to me when i got older and went to yeshiva and camp what a shame my children wont be able to have it the way we did dew to all those that want to live a free life style but want there children to be better and frumer with out them having to teach them hoping lakewoods grate schools and rabbeim and the chosheva kehilla wiil influence them

    they come here b/c its a makkom torah but then feal like less so they spend the day bashing bnei torah

    it seams to me that those who choose the easy way are very intimadated by the bnei torah i wonder why(not really im pretty sure i know why).

  47. Reb Matis is correct.

    Modern Orthodoxy has taken Torah violations (e.g. mixed swimming, mixed dancing, married women’s uncovered heads, women wearing pants, immodest dressing, Negiah, Nivul Peh, boys and girls mixing inappropriately, television is fine, movies are fine, goyishe music is fine, etc.) and made them a part of the MO lifestyle;

    so that a Jew is led to believe that if he or she does these things, it’s because he or she is “modern,” and it’s a normal part of the Modern Orthodox lifestyle.

  48. to orthowatch: the differance between not following r’ moshe on shabbos clocks etc. & dumping r’ kook when it came to tznius etc.is that r’ moshe was saying a chidush which the other esteemed poskim never said.as opposed to your ex: where r’ kook was not saying chidushim in hilchos tznuis. so when u run to his chidddush in zionism and run away from poshut halachos in tznuis then u are shopping 4 heterim

  49. Wearing a blue shirt is not the same as a woman putting her hair-covering back too far. One is a minhag at best; a thing yeshiva guys dont do colloquially. The other, si a total breech of halacha – the heter of a tefach is badly abused. A hair covering must cover a certain amount of hair – so saying ‘so what?’ is the same as saying ‘well, he doesnt work on shabbos, so it’s OK if he does borer’ – while he’s not chaytav misa for making transactions, he is in fact chayav misa for borerm, or kores.

    No one said that ‘this one’s good and this one’s bad’, back then, and no one does now – I dont know how many times I have to say this before someone finally gets it, but you can judge actions and statements, and ideas, without judging people – try to understand this, please, im tired of saying it. The fact that people do something makes it no less evil; you also do not want to be associated with people who are doing things that are wrong, since these people are a bad influence(oi lerasha, veoi leshcheino) – kiruv is something else.

    Of course they’re children of G-d – this does not mean they can do no wrong and that we should sit back and let the world go crazy and let people have unacceptable communal behavior.

    It’s not about being strict. Not beleiving in following halacha is in fact, apikorsus – one who has a yatzer hora and does wrong things is of course not an apikores, but you cannot expect people to be all friendly with him if he’s an outward unrepentant sinner, i.e., mumar.

    That joke still exists today, unfortunately – people do tend to think that wherever they are is ‘middle’, and ‘moderate’, and ‘reasonable’, that those who follow halacha better than they do and have more yiras shomayim, etc.., are fanatics(ive been called that a bunch of times myself after dropping the TV), and that if you do less, you’re a rasha – this is of course, nonsense, but this is how people think.

    I think what’s happening in the mizrachi/MO community now is a great thing – there’s a resurgance of learning; people take torah more seriously now. The old, cynical generation of mixed dancing and swimmming, where a MO colony is xlassified as such because they have mixed swimming, is ending – there are still the problems of TV and apikorsus such as torah umada, but this will also go away with time the more people learn.

    It’s like rav hutner said; open a kollel and frumkeit improves, it’s that simple. And just take a look – wherever there’s a kollel, the symbol of torah lishmah and ahavas hatorah(not ahavas ha’integration), the people follow.

    We’re sheep? Now isn’t that a bit self-righteous? Those that are closer to G-d are those we should follow – it’s as dumb as trying to give yourself surgery when you’re a pre-med student – you’re not on that madrega; follow those that are, and maybe you’ll be zoche to be at their ankles someday – otherwise, it’s pure arrogance. Chazal say that shimush chachamim is so important that one is called an am haaretz if he does nto have a connection to the previous generation of talmidei chachamim, even if he knows kol hatorah kulah.

    If you want to know what the important thing is, open the mesilas yeshorim – when you see what the torah’s idea of the purpose of life is, vs what people do in many communities, then you can come back to me and say what’s the ikkar and what’s not in avodas hashem – being a child of hashem is not avodas hashem – no shaychus. Of course, it’s a part of the reason we have ahavas yisroel – no one’s saying not to have ahavas yisroel even to those who are far from yiddishkeit – check out rav scwhab’s sefer ‘selected essays’, put out by CIS for some nice presentations of this idea – for the last time, you can be against ideas, call them avodah zara, and reject lifestyles and such, without hating people – this is not sinas chinam!!!

    Anyway, in those essays, he outlines the ‘charedi’ approach to MO very well; he reaches out to the MO world to bring achuds, to stop associating with reform and conservative, to stop their other deviations, and to join the real ‘modern orthodoxy’ as he sees it. Of note is the essay ‘he who loves does not hate’, a beautiful explanation of how charedim do not have sinas chinam towards MO, but rather love them so much we cant bear to see them destroy themselves.

    Don’t use eilu ve’eilu as a cop-out to avoid serious conclusion-making – we say that when it comes to, say, the rema against the mechaber – that’s one thing. Modern orthodoxy does not, and will not, have the answers to the tainos on its hashkafos – ostensibly, the rema could have answered the mechaber, and that is a general machlokes. When someone calls someone responsible for ‘the majority of tumah in america’, like one odom gadol said about a certain figure in the MO world, that is no longer eilu ve’eilu.

    We can have machlokes if it’s leshaym shemayi and for kovod hatorah. Please try to understand that.

    I am writing about thingd orthowatch seems to agree with – it seems we may have two different definitions of modern orthodoxy that are at place here. My definition, it would seem, orthowatch agrees is anti-torah – if there are people out there who want to live ehrliche lives, and believe that their being out in the world for whatever reasons, i.e, kiruv, or parnosa, etc.., and call that modern orthdox, then fine – you wont get any arguments from me; I wrote about what is known as modern orthodox attitudes, and how wrong they are – if however, orthowatch meant that there is some inherent value in being ‘out there’, like ive heard from some people, that it shows goyim how ‘normal’ you are, and that this is valuable, etc.., then I would have to discard that too as an empty hashkafa, as it does nothing to further avodas hashem – practicalities aside, in the realsm of ideology, there is a differnece between what is believed ‘bekoyach’, and what is done ‘bepoel’.

    If one goes to work all day and only finds an hour to learn, and yet understands that this is not the optimal way of serving hashem, then that is one thing.

    It is an enitrely different thing to make an ideology out of it, and say that you are a better jew because of it, and that those who dont are wrong, etc..maybe we can try working these issues out – there might be some misunderstandings here.

  50. I can understand wanting to shelter your children, but some of the examples you give are ridiculous. To equate dressing in a non tzniusdik manner, which is against halacha, to eating chalav stam, which is not against halacha is so ignorant. I am in Lakewood a long time and when I came, very “yeshivish” people ate chalav stame, and many still do. It’s not so much your sheltering which will harm your children, it’s your ignorance! NOt all behaviors you keep away from are equal!(I have a daughter and son-in-law living and learning in E”Y who eat chalav stam as that is the minhag of his family)

  51. YZ: Wrong! MO has not taken forbidden things and made them ok. Are there people who do things which are wrong? Yes, of course. But ask a MO Rabbi if it’s ok, they’ll never tell you that it’s allowed. The majority of MO women cover their hair. Negiah? Wrong again! In fact, many MO are more careful about this. NCSY pushes it very hard.They have it ingrained in a young age that negiah is wrong.
    Nivul peh? Wrong again! You don’t have to be Jewish to realize that’s wrong. MO never said that’s ok.
    TV and movies I’ll admit, most MO people do watch. However, that’s not only in the MO community.

    Matis, you said the only way you can tell a MO person apart from a non-Jew is by the yarmulka. Well, that may be true – on the outside. However, I can tell you that there are other things that count. Unfortunately, and this has been highlighted recently, many “frum” Jews are less than ethical when it comes to business practices. MO people, for the most part, are far more proper when it comes to this. We pay our taxes without cheating. We don’t hide our cash income to qualify for Medicare and WIC. These are things which go on every day in other places. Don’t tell me they don’t – I know for a fact that they do. My family members tell me all about it.

  52. 51, Jews who were in the US before the war stayed frum primarily for one reason: their tenacious hold on Shabbos. That was the MAJOR criteria in deciding whom to associate with who wouldn’t bring them down. After that, as the song goes, Kulanu Yehudim.

    And there was pure love for all Jews, just sorrow and pity for those who couldn’t pass this incredible nisayon.

  53. I really do not like to get into argumwnts about who is better and who is worse, I find that the only sure result is that a yid is being put down.

    However, I would like to address a few items mentioned by Orthowatch (I find that name abhorent because of its hateful connotations).

    There may not be explicit approval by the M.O. Rabbonim for these itemsN however there seems to be tacit approval. That there is such a concept of a trfillin date or that shomer negiah is considered a chumrah? I am not going to even discuss tzniyus issues, and we are not talk 90 denier stockings , rather just covering some part of the body. I know you are going to say that NCSY speaks against this, however if the overwhelming majority of the MO today find that NCSY teaching to be extreme, what does that say.

    And it is wonderful that you mention R Schechter and R Willig, they are big talmeidie chachomim and yorei shomayim, but frankly they are looked at as the epitome of MO but to much for many to handle unfortunately.

    Your comment about MO comminity being more honest does not hold water in my experience and is simply not true. No, I will not specify examples.

    And I had the occasion to speak to a Rebbi in one of the yeshivos for post high school boys from modern orthodox schools. Not a school for at rsk children and I was stunned and saddened to hear what these boys were coming from. That their parents were clearly unaware of.

  54. 60, Do the MO Rabbis not only never say that it’s allowed, but actually teach the people not to do it in the first place? If they have in their congregations, people who do the things that I mentioned in 54, do the Rabbis tell them not do to it? If a woman in his congregation wears sleeveless and pants, does the MO Rabbi tell her not to do it, that it’s a sin?

    Why is it that when asked why a bungalow colony says that it’s MO, the reply is because it has mixed swimming?

    There has not been a new religion started and given a name, called “Hiding-Cash-Income-to-Qualify-for-Medicare-and-WIC Orthodoxy.” If people hide their cash income to qualify for Medicare and WIC, then we say it’s a sin, no matter who does it – those you call “Frum” and the MO, too.

    Doing this is a sin, and married women not covering their hair is a sin, and mixed swimming is a sin.

    But when a married woman don’t cover her hair, she says that it’s because she’s “modern.” When people go mixed swimming, they says that it’s because they’re “modern.” It’s part of the “modern” lifestyle.

    If someone C”V hides cash income to qualify for Medicare and WIC, do we say it’s because he’s “modern” ?

  55. The ONLY unnecessary reason that anyone goes OTD is because they/we are LACKING in EMUNA. PERIOD!
    We SCHOOL and HOMES, MUST strengthen our EMUNA and that of our constituents. PLEASE, KLAL YISROE, please listen to the lecture series of RABBI DOVID SAPERMAN, from Toronto. Implementation of what he says, into our yeshiva curriculum will stem the tied of straying neshamos.

  56. 64, I admire your passion. But plenty of OTD kids and adults have issues with cynicism and people. Ultimately, I guess it is emunah – if they would realize the truth, and that it’s not the numbers of people who live by it they might have an easier time.
    But it would make it a whole lot easier if more people lived fundamentally decent lives to begin with.

  57. Yes, MO Rabbis do teach people that things are wrong. They pick their battles depending on the individual, because for some people, pushing will do more harm than good.

    Why do some people say they’re modern when they do wrong? I don’t know. Why do some people beat up women in Beit Shemesh claiming that Hashem wants them to? Most of the Neturei Karta claim to be chassidim. Does that mean chassidus is bad?
    There will always be people who distort what is right. You dislike it when chareidim are attacked over the deeds of a few. How did you react a few weeks ago over the Deal situation, when people said chareidim are criminals? Did you say no, it was only a small group? Probably. Well, you’re attacking MO the same way now, over the actions of a group of people that doesn’t represent what MO is.

  58. Reb Matis, you said everything I wanted to and then some. Don’t be bothered by the ameratzishe counter-arguments. ?????? ???? ???.

  59. I agree with the poster who suspects that most of the others are well under forty. It might be good to read some history. It might be good to remember that before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a Yid could be fired for refusing to work on Shabbos, or wearing a yarmulke. We were a minority then. Believe it or not, we’re still a minority. It just doesn’t look that way if you live in the New York area.

    We need each other. If we can’t figure that out on our on, I’m worried that HaShem may give us a lesson or two to bang it into our heads. Sure, halacha is halacha, but there are many shitos, and many minhagim. Only in a closed environment can we indulge in name-calling and intolerance.

    There aren’t a lot of jobs, and as the parents and the in-laws retire or become less able to support, things are going to get very, very strained. I know girls who spent months finding a job after they got married and then had to settle for whatever they could get.

    We can’t afford NOT to have achdus. If one is MO and one is Chareidi and one is Chassidish – well, as Ben Franklin said during the American Revolution – if we don’t hang together we will surely all hang separately.

    We had a few decades of glorious prosperity and freedom in which we were able to rebuild. Those times are over. We have to get serious about keeping ourselves a healthy community, and that means finishing with the infighting. It gives us high blood pressure, it alienates our kids, and in the long run it imperils the well-being of all of us.

  60. To number 68,

    You are completely right that there should be achdus and love of each other. However, if blogs are an indicator of reality, the modern orthodox seem to abhor the chareidim. Look at blog postings, I would say 98% of the cynical blogs are by those who identify themselves as MO, always refering to their rav and look to put down the chareidim. Look around and you will see who is really acting and speaking hatefully.

    It hardly seems to be the “closed neighborhoods” of Boro Park and Lakewood that areunaccepting and denigrating. Quite the opposite in fact.

  61. This is an extremely complex question that needs to be answered by Gedolay Torah. In every group operation, the issues of “Does this guy belong here?” and “This guy does not belong here!” are decided upon by THE ADMINISTRATION of the institution; the individual members do not make that decision!! If some members see a member who is doing something bad, they report the problem to the administration. The administration people will investigate the matter, see if it is true, see if they can or cannot get the person to improve, evaluate how serious the problem is, and determine if the person should be asked to leave. But again, the administration makes this decision, not the members.

    This is all that should need to be said about this, so my comment should end here.

    However, a very large number of people have commented here on the story — with quite a lot of vehement anger from both directions. Therefore, I feel compelled, B’Ezras HaShem, to talk about it. Again, I cannot at all have any idea of what should be done. All that, B’Ezras HaShem, I am doing is to elaborate on the many serious aspects and considerations that we should always have in mind.

    There is certainly a great obligation on us to make places and communities whein only good things are done and are fully insulated from the many unfortunate corruptions of the current outside world. Boruch HaShem, we have succeeded in doing this to a significant extent in our various chinuch institutions with the communities that are built around them and the various Chassidic mini-cities.

    Like every operation in the world, each place has its standards of behavior for its members. Obviously, these rules must be fully presented to the people BEFORE they become members; in a tactful and respective manner, they must be told: “In this place, we do things this and this and this way; do you want to do that?” Once people have been welcomed in with them assuming that they could do whatever they want, we cannot now place new restrictions on them. It is well understood that it is extremely mean to “change the rules of the game in the middle of the game”!

    The case here is of a man and his wife who are both in a certain way “Ba’alay T’Shuva.” Of course, it is extensively well known the statement of our Chazal: “B’Makom SheBa’al T’Shuva Omeid, Ain Tzadik Gomer Yachol La’amod!” — “In the place where the repentent person stands, even one who was always completely righteous cannot stand!”

    Rav Avigdor Miller, ZT’L, heightens the issue. He relates that, for example, there is a Jewish man who is completely irreligious having nothing to do with our Torah. On a day of one of the Yomim Tovim, he walks by a Torahdike shul. He sees the many people, who are all finely dressed, walking in and out of the building. He is puzzled. He did even know that today was a Yom Tov! Of course, he would not go in to join the services, for this is not what he does, and, anyway, he is not dressed for the occasion.

    Then, there is a second Jewish man who is real frum. He has a big beard and wears a black hat or a striemel. He keeps the highest Chumros in Kashrus with only Chalav Yisroel allowed in his house. He has sedorim to learn, and, of course, he sends his children to yeshivos. However, he chooses for his children yeshiva schools that he feels are a little bit “modern.”

    The first guy is infinitely BETTER than the second guy!




    The well known story of Yosef begins with the Torah relating that Yosef told their father bad things that his brothers did. Rashi brings Chazal who elaborate that Yosef reported three items about his brothers. 1.) They ate “Aiver Min HaChai” — “Meat from an animal that was still alive.” 2.) They called the sons of the assistant wives “slaves.” 3.) They illicitly flirted with the Canaanite women with whom they did business. Rashi then points out that in line with these three claims, Yosef was punished. 1.) When his bothers sold him, they slaughtered a goat before eating it. 2.) Yosef himself was sold to become a slave. 3.) The wife of his master tried to have illicit relations with him.

    The first item is understandable. Yosef claimed that his brothers ate from an animal that was still alive; at the sale, they did not do that; they slaughtered the goat; Yosef had been wrong. Items two and three though may sound poetic, but how were they punishments?

    L’Aniyas Da’ati, I think this is the explanation. It could well be that the brothers had made some errors. However, these were relatively SLIGHT errors: They did not give their half brothers from the assistant wives the very highest degree of respect; they became a little too friendly with the Canaanite women they did business with. Yosef then made an error in reporting these as if they were full Aveiros. So Yosef was made a slave, and his masters wife tired to seduce him. So HaShem was in effect telling Yosef: “I will show you what a REAL slave is! I will show you what REAL illicit behavior is!”

    From what is described about this new couple in this housing complex, it sounds like the wife is dressing pretty much decently, but not quite 100% of what is required. Of course, all of us need to go 100% in Avodas HaShem — all of us need to go 100% in serving G-D. (I well remember how several decades ago when I went to Kaiser Foundation Hospital that they had these paper cups with the printed words: “STRIVE FOR ZERO DEFECTS!”)

    Obviously though, I think it is an error to talk about the “defect” in her dress in the same way that we must — vehemently condemn — the wicked severe public flaunting by even married women that is extremely sadly being done in today’s outside world.

    Again these are obviously serious considerations in which we need proper guidance from our Gedolay Torah.

  62. “Well, you’re attacking MO the same way now, over the actions of a group of people that doesn’t represent what MO is.”

    66, If these people don’t represent what MO is, then how exactly do you define what a Modern Orthodox person is?

  63. Modern Orthodox people believe that we can integrate into and contribute to society while still maintaining our religious beliefs. Basically, you can be a good, frum Jew while using computers and the internet and going out to work in the corporate world. Instead of sheltering ourselves from things (such as the internet), we recognize the good that can come from them, and use our own self-control to avoid the bad. For the most part, we also disagree with the idea of the kollel system, and encourage people to support their families without leaning on others to support them.

  64. to this I respond one simple chazal ‘al taamin beatzmecha ad yom muscha’

    We never believe in our own self-control. This is part of what I said about importing non-jewish ideas – if this is your definition of modern orthodoxy, then it is not orthodox.

  65. In addition, there is no merit to not being supported – working was a curse for odom, remmeber? this is an import from the non-jewish world. Look up the shach in hilchos talmud torah, where he quotes the rambam’s shita(whcih only criticized taking tzedaka, not getting support – big big difference, even the rambam agress that getting supported for learning is a ‘kiddush hashem’ in his words to join the shevet halevi in their lifestyle of learning all day – he also says that ANYONE who wants to can join – that’s not the whole ‘only for the best’ talk we keep hearing from MO, and the shach says further that nowadays,since we need talmidei chachamim so badly, we can even rely on tzedaka.

    A far cry indeed from the rhetoric we hear from MO. You wont find anyone disagreeing with this, except of course, MO.

    Talmud torah keneged kulam – if you dont like being told you’re not as good as the learners, well, then go out and learn! Nowhere does it say that yisachar and zevulun are equal – it sAys they get the equal share in torah – big big difference. The meforshim point out that the kedushash hatorah is only earned by the yisacher, as an aside.

    It’s just the biggest chutzpah to quote that oft-misrepresented rambam without the achronim on him who explain it; the halacha is not like that, and chacham ovadiah brings an entire army of sources which indicate that we cannot decide halacha without achronim anyway, so the whole discusion is mute.

    Al pi halacha, you have no reason to ‘believe’, that people should go out and work and not learn beshita, unless of course, you believe in something other than mesorah which says differently.

    And dont bring rav hirsch – please, it’s tired. There’s no way rav hirsch could have meant his program for our generation; see reb baruch ber on him before quoting him.

    You encourage people to support their families; that could be read as dragging guys out of beis medrash to go be in the tumah-world of manhattan instead of kedushas hatorah; according to what I quoted above, that would be a better translation.

    Remember – working was a curse for odom! and you want the curse!!