Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What Judaism Is About

What Judaism is...
... and what it is not about

Judaism is about making a real commitment to serving HaShem in the best manner possible by searching within yourself for ways to bring yourself closer to the Creator.
Judaism is not about putting on an external show of piety and inwardly assuming that no self-improvement is necessary.

Judaism is about passing the Torah and it's teachings from one generation to the next, about educating all of our children in the best manner possible to ensure that Judaism lives another generation and that the Torah is observed. It is about seeing the inherent value in every student and transmitting the Torah to them in a way that will cause them to cherish and value it for the rest of their lives.
Judaism is not about excluding children from schools because they don't dress the way you dress, speak the language you speak, don't sit and learn all day (as opposed to going to work) or hold the exact same hashkafic values that you hold. It's not about catering only to the "super-learners" who have kollel futures while ignoring those who cannot or will not reach that lofty goal.

Judaism is about a community coming together, supporting one another in times of need and crisis and celebreating together in good times.
Judaism is not about looking down at your neighbors because they have a TV or because your neighbor's hat isn't as black as yours. It's not about keeping your children away from others who dress differently because you are afraid of your children being "contaminated."

Judaism is about going to Rabbinic leaders for advice on halachic issues or hashkafic issues or even general advice on life, love and relationships. It is about seeking out the best possible advice for any given problem that one faces in life.
Judaism is not about assuming that Rabbis have advanced medical or scientific knowledge in the absence of rigorous training in said fields. It's not about assuming that Rabbinical figures of today or yesterday are infallible or that their words represent the absolute truth.

Judaism is about living up to one's obligations, both personal and communal. It's about providing for our families and about setting up communal institutions such as yeshivos, mikvaos, tzedakas, etc. that serve the community. It's about personal responsibility - just as one is responsible to make sure that he gets up in the morning and davens, so too is one responsible to see to it that (to the best of his ability) his family is fed and cared for, nurtured both spiritually and physically.
Judaism is not about abdicating responsibility. It's not about finding out how many government programs you can cheat your way on to, it's not about finding ways to avoid paying taxes and it's not about relying on the community to carry you. It's not about abdicating your responsibilty to do due diligence when facing life's many problems. You can certainly ask a Rebbe which funds to put into your 401(k) plan - and take his advice into account, but you are also required to research the funds for yourself and consult with financial advisors.

Judaism is about learning God's Torah, disseminating it and living by it. It's about innovative thought in halacha and hashkafah; about seeking out new ideas and new insights into Tanach, Talmud, Midrash and Halacha. It's about applying the Torah to the world we live in, and learning how to live our lives according to it's teachings.
Judaism is not about stifling thought and ideas. It's not about issuing bans on books because they recognize that even the greatest human beings can have faults and flaws and may hold of opinions that aren't mainstream. It's not about banning new innovations that have the potential as we've never had before to spread Torah throughout the world. It's not about hiding behind ancient texts and living in fear that a new idea may threaten to destroy the Torah as we know it.

Judaism is about being part of an extended family. We are all cousins, being the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov. Satmar, Lubavitch, Bobov, Gerer, Yeshivish, "Modern," LW, RW, etc. - we are all one extended family. Like many families we may not always agree on all issues, but we shouldn't forget that, at the end of the day, we *are* family.
Judaism is not about refusing to marry into certain families because of perceived faults or trivial matters. It's not about rejecting someone because of misdeeds performed by other members of the family over which the applicant had no control. It's not about telling someone that they are unsuitable for marriage because their parents use a plastic tablecloth or because he wears laced shoes instead of loafers. It's not about rejecting someone out of hand because of some external labels or because the family they come from isn't "good enough" without getting to know the person behind the label or the family.

Judaism is about sanctfying God's name in this world. It's about setting positive examples for both other Jews and the gentiles in the world. It's about causing people to have respect for God and His Torah. It's about outreach programs and charity. It's about being involved in the world around you and causing others to acknowledge the goodness of the Torah.
Judaism is not about profaning God's name in this world. It's not about silly inter- or intra-factional rivalries. It's not about throwing stones at cars because they drive through frum neighborhoods on Shabbos. It's not about starting riots because a person is arrested and possibly charged with a crime. It's not about strong-arming your policies onto everyone else.

The Wolf

45 comments:

Am Yisroel said...

Satmar, Lubavitch, Bobov, Gerer, Yeshivish, "Modern," LW, RW, etc. - we are all one extended family.

What about Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Humanistic, Renewal, etc.?

Hypocrite.

Michael Koplow said...

Hey, I was about to say the same thing as am yisroel just did.

BrooklynWolf said...

You were going to call me a hypocrite too? :)

In any event, you are right, of course, Am. We are extended family to those groups as well. I didn't intentionally mean to exclude them, but as long as the subject has been brought up...

They too, as I said earlier, are family. And, to be honest, much of what is written applies to them as well. Judaism is *still* about passing the Torah on to the next generation - regardless of your personal level of observance. Judaism is *still* about community coming together - supporting those in need and celebrating with those who are celebrating - regardless of their level of observance. Judaism is *still* about Rabbinic leadership on halachic issues and is still about personal and communal responsibility; about learning and teaching Torah and the sanctification of HaShem's name.

So I didn't mention those groups in my post. Chatasi. It was an oversight on my part. But much of the post still applies to them as well.

The Wolf

Michael Koplow said...

I actually wasn't going to call you a hypocrite--just to note the omission.

The sin was mine for looking like I was calling you a hypocrite. In fact, I thought the black type was someone else and the blue type was you, because of the omission--it seemed out of character. An oversight--I've had some experience with those myself.

BrooklynWolf said...

Mike,

I didn't really think you were calling me a hypocrite. That's why I had the smilie after the question mark. :) I understood what you meant - I was just joking.

The Wolf

Ezzie said...

Excellent post. Thanks.

The Hedyot said...

Could've fooled me!

anonym00kie said...

nice post, its always inspiring to see people with the right perspective, striving to make judaism work despite the obstacles and misrepresentations.

queeniesmom said...

Great post. Now can we make sure it is required reading for all. Once read MUST be put into practice. I live in hope!

Anonymous said...

while people who practise reform/conservative judiasm but are born of a halachikally jewish woman are indeed jewish and part of the family, one whose mother has converted through reform can not be considered jewish.

Sarah said...

excellent post.

MordyS said...

AMEN! (but what's up with people like anonymous? dude, you completely missed the point of the entire post! it doesn't matter what type of Jew you are!!! we're all here to spread kiddush hashem!!! and yes, we all know the requirements for what constitutes a Jew and what doesn't, thanx for pointing that out...sheesh!)

The Jewish Freak said...

Very eloquent. You said it better than I ever could.
I am curious about the plastic tablecloth, and loafers vs laces issue. I guess I've been out of it for a while, I have not heard of that before.

eli7 said...

People like me became frum b/c we wanted to be closer to G-d and follow His Mitzvot. It was sort of a rude awakening to see how these "frum yidden" act as if they do not know from good middot. Essentially, since I don't fit into their mold of a "frum woman", that must mean that I am not. People tried to enter our kitchens and bedrooms uninvited to ascertain our frumness. Our kashrut is being questioned b/c my husband does not wear a kipa 24/7 and DD4 wears shorts.

Whatever happened to taking the time to get to know a person before judging their behavior? If you are a perpetual kollel guy who is expecting the community to support you, why are you picking on the man who works two jobs (for not learning)?

Shamai Levovitz said...

Judaism is about maintaining fidelity to a millenia old mesorah and not opting for the ethics de jour. Where's your mesorah.Who appointed you the spokesman for what it is and isn't and, more to the point, the critic and motsee shem ra against all who don't subscribe to your organization of reality?

BrooklynWolf said...

Shammai,

Motzee Shem Ra? I don't think I mentioned a single name in my post at all. Just whom did I defame?

By asking "where's your mesorah", you imply that I no longer maintain it. Well, I *do* maintain a fidelity to the mesorah. Where do you see from my post that I've abandoned it in favor of the "ethics du jour" as you put it?

No one appointed me a spokesperson to define Judaism -- what I presented is my own opinion -- which I am entitled to have. You, of course, are also free to disagree with me. If you feel I'm wrong, feel free to write a rebuttal -- I'll respond to it.

In any event, I'd also be curious to know exactly what it was that I said that you were opposed to? What statement(s), specifically, got you so riled up? And what is your objection to them. Again, please respond and I'll answer your objections.

The Wolf

Shamai Levovitz said...

True... no individuls were named but making defamatory comments about large (easily identifiable)segments of the Jewish population excaerbates, rather than diminishes, the egregiousness of Loshon Hora. As for a rebuttal if time allows I hope to get to one by Sunday. Is there any way to type a word document and then paste it into the comments section? Failing that, if I email you will you post the email in the comments?

BrooklynWolf said...

Sadly, there is no way to put a Word document into the comments.

However, if you send it to me by email and if it's cogent and clear, I'll put it up as a guest post. How's that?

The Wolf

lakewoodyid said...

>Our kashrut is being questioned b/c my husband does not wear a kipa 24/7

Do you blaim them for questioning?

If you can't follow the rule which requires a Jewish man to keep his head covered at all times, why should we assune that you perfectly follow all kosher rules?

lakewoodyid said...

>Judaism is not about putting on an external show of piety and inwardly assuming that no self-improvement is necessary.

Mee'toch Shelo Lishmah, Bo Lishma.

>Judaism is not about excluding children from schools because they don't dress the way you dress, speak the language you speak,

How would you feel if one day your kid says to his sibling "shut up you stupid faggot" and you find out that he learnt that from his classmate who has a VCR in his house?

>It's not about catering only to the "super-learners" who have kollel futures while ignoring those who cannot or will not reach that lofty goal.

4,200 + students in BMG are all Super-learners?

>Judaism is not about looking down at your neighbors because they have a TV

TV provides an excellent source of moral and ethical values. Correct?

(Murder, Crime, Drugs, Sex......)

>Judaism is not about assuming that Rabbis have advanced medical or scientific knowledge in the absence of rigorous training in said fields.

Do you really think that a Rebbe will give his own advise when there is a question of pikuach nefesh?

>It's not about assuming that Rabbinical figures of today or yesterday are infallible or that their words represent the absolute truth.

Other than that chabad'tzker post, your out of line here. Even Moshe Rabbeinu was fallible. He 'hit' the 'stone'.

>It's not about finding out how many government programs you can cheat your way on to,

A small minority who cheat.

>it's not about finding ways to avoid paying taxes

Again, a small minority who cheat.

>and it's not about relying on the community to carry you.

And how many choose to do that L'chatchila?

>You can certainly ask a Rebbe which funds to put into your 401(k) plan - and take his advice into account, but you are also required to research the funds for yourself and consult with financial advisors.

Required? Where in halacha does it say its required? It does say in Avos that one of the 48 Kinyanei Hatorah is Emunas Chachomim....


>Judaism is not about stifling thought and ideas.

Uhh, Sifrei minim? Sifrei Apikorsim?

>It's not about issuing bans on books because they recognize that even the greatest human beings can have faults and flaws and may hold of opinions that aren't mainstream.

It might be wrong to publicise them.

>It's not about banning new innovations that have the potential as we've never had before to spread Torah throughout the world.

Steinsaltz?

>It's not about hiding behind ancient texts and living in fear that a new idea may threaten to destroy the Torah as we know it.

Chodosh Assur Min Hatorah. That was the Chassam Sofer's slogan in his fight against reform.


>Judaism is not about refusing to marry into certain families because of perceived faults or trivial matters.

Yichus. Mishpachos Meyuchosos.

>It's not about rejecting someone because of misdeeds performed by other members of the family over which the applicant had no control.

Uhh, I'll talk to you about this after you are meshadech with Kolko's child.

>It's not about telling someone that they are unsuitable for marriage because their parents use a plastic tablecloth or because he wears laced shoes instead of loafers.

I AGREE!!!

>It's not about silly inter- or intra-factional rivalries.

R' Yakkov Emden and R'Yonoson Eibeshutz?

Do you know that at one point, they burnt the Rambam's seforim?

>It's not about throwing stones at cars because they drive through frum neighborhoods on Shabbos.

Every religion has some fanatics.

>It's not about starting riots because a person is arrested and possibly charged with a crime.

See above.

>It's not about strong-arming your policies onto everyone else.

מצוה לשמוע דברי חכמים

BrooklynWolf said...

BW: Judaism is not about putting on an external show of piety and inwardly assuming that no self-improvement is necessary.

LY: Mee'toch Shelo Lishmah, Bo Lishma.

My response: Agreed. I even said the same thing on Rabbi Mayles' blog. But that's only provided that the person is actually working toward Lishmah.

===================================
BW: Judaism is not about excluding children from schools because they don't dress the way you dress, speak the language you speak,

LY: How would you feel if one day your kid says to his sibling "shut up you stupid faggot" and you find out that he learnt that from his classmate who has a VCR in his house?

My response: I didn't say that there weren't valid reasons to keep some kids away from other kids. If other people allow their kids to watch videos that promote violence, sex, language, etc. or do other activities that are dangerous then those *are* valid grounds to keep your child away. But that's a far cry from keeping someone away because they dress differently or don't speak the same language.

Or are you maintaining that blue shirts can ruin children?

==================================
BW: It's not about catering only to the "super-learners" who have kollel futures while ignoring those who cannot or will not reach that lofty goal.

LY: 4,200 + students in BMG are all Super-learners?

My response: To be honest, I really had the high-school level in mind. Other students may attend, but unless you are a "super-learner," you certainly won't get the attention that you need to blossom.

==================================
BW: Judaism is not about looking down at your neighbors because they have a TV

LY: TV provides an excellent source of moral and ethical values. Correct?

(Murder, Crime, Drugs, Sex......)


Yes, I agree that there are bad things on TV. There are also good things on TV. How about finding out what people are watching before making judgements. Dan L'kaf Zechus.

===================================
BW: Judaism is not about assuming that Rabbis have advanced medical or scientific knowledge in the absence of rigorous training in said fields.

LY: Do you really think that a Rebbe will give his own advise when there is a question of pikuach nefesh?

My response: Maybe. I had a doctor comment on this blog earlier that sometimes Rabbeim *did* give advise contrary to his.

In any event, it's not limited to pikuach nefesh. The example I gave later on involved finances, not pikuach nefesh.

===================================
BW: It's not about assuming that Rabbinical figures of today or yesterday are infallible or that their words represent the absolute truth.

LY:It's not about assuming that Rabbinical figures of today or yesterday are infallible or that their words represent the absolute truth.

My response: Halevai I was out of line. There are many in the Charedi world who take a position of "a Gadol said it, it must be true..."
===================================
BW:It's not about finding out how many government programs you can cheat your way on to,

LY:A small minority who cheat.

My response: Very well, a small minority it may be - but it's a very well known one.

===================================
BW: and it's not about relying on the community to carry you.

LY:And how many choose to do that L'chatchila?

My response: Probably the same small minority who cheat...
===================================
BW: You can certainly ask a Rebbe which funds to put into your 401(k) plan - and take his advice into account, but you are also required to research the funds for yourself and consult with financial advisors.

LY:Required? Where in halacha does it say its required? It does say in Avos that one of the 48 Kinyanei Hatorah is Emunas Chachomim....

BW: Where in halacha? Nowhere, granted. It also doesn't say in the Shulchan Aruch that you should say "I'm sorry" when you bump into someone. But it's still required.

In this case, it's required under hishtadlut. You have to put in the effort. Just as you would find the best doctor that you could in case of an illness and research the best smoke detectors for your house, you should also research the best financial advice that you can find.

===================================
BW: Judaism is not about stifling thought and ideas.

LY:Uhh, Sifrei minim? Sifrei Apikorsim?

Da Ma L'hashiv
===================================
BW: It's not about issuing bans on books because they recognize that even the greatest human beings can have faults and flaws and may hold of opinions that aren't mainstream.

LY: It might be wrong to publicise them.

My response: In what way? It's wrong to acknowledge that some of our leaders were only human and not infallible?! It's also wrong to (correctly) point out that they didn't suffer from "group-think" and that they may have had different opinions on different matters?
===================================
BW: It's not about banning new innovations that have the potential as we've never had before to spread Torah throughout the world.

LY: Steinsaltz?

My response: I was actually referring to the internet. My apologies for not being clear.
===================================
BW: It's not about hiding behind ancient texts and living in fear that a new idea may threaten to destroy the Torah as we know it.

LY: Chodosh Assur Min Hatorah. That was the Chassam Sofer's slogan in his fight against reform.


My response: All chiddushim are assur?!?! If that's the case there wouldn't have been any Geonim, Rishonim, Acharonim, etc. Our libraries would be quite small.
===================================
BW: Judaism is not about refusing to marry into certain families because of perceived faults or trivial matters.

LY: Yichus. Mishpachos Meyuchosos.

My response: Sorry, I don't attach all that much importance to who someone's ancestors were. I'm more interested in their own personal accomplishments. I'd rather my daughter marry the son of an irreligious man who became frum and learns of his own accord than the son of a tzaddik from the best family who hasn't accomplished anything on his own.
===================================
BW: It's not about rejecting someone because of misdeeds performed by other members of the family over which the applicant had no control.

LY: Uhh, I'll talk to you about this after you are meshadech with Kolko's child.

My response: I wouldn't have a problem with that - PROVIDED that the son/daughter themselves are fine. Of course, I'd caution my child not to leave his/her child alone with the grandfather, of course. But I'm not going to hold the father's misdeeds against the children - and if you would, shame on you.
===================================
BW: It's not about telling someone that they are unsuitable for marriage because their parents use a plastic tablecloth or because he wears laced shoes instead of loafers.

LY:I AGREE!!!

My response: Woo-hoo! Great minds think alike. :)
===================================
BW: It's not about silly inter- or intra-factional rivalries.

LY:R' Yakkov Emden and R'Yonoson Eibeshutz?

I'm not familiar with the fued you mentioned, so I can't comment on it.

LY:Do you know that at one point, they burnt the Rambam's seforim?

My response: Yes, and so what? Just because something happened in the past doesn't make it right in the present.
===================================
BW: It's not about throwing stones at cars because they drive through frum neighborhoods on Shabbos.

LY:Every religion has some fanatics.

My response: Agreed. But it seems that it's the fanatics who get a lot of publicity while the "normal folk" are hardly noticed.
===================================
BW: It's not about strong-arming your policies onto everyone else.

LY:מצוה לשמוע דברי חכמים

My response: Within reason, within reason. Would you listen to them if they told you to jump up and down all day? Of course not (unless they gave you a good reason to do so, of course).

The Wolf

Jack's Shack said...

Lot of food for thought here.

lakewoodyid said...

BW,

I'm thinking if I should spend my time responding. (I'm pretty sure that I can if I make the time)

If I don't, don't take it that I gave in. You'll still be seeing me around here.

lakewoodyid said...

>Lot of food for thought here.

So bite in!

Kelly said...

Awesome post! I am putting it on my list of things to blog about when I feel like writing some more.

David Guttmann said...

Excellent post. Do you have any idea why we are in such a bad state?

BH said...

eli7 said

"Our kashrut is being questioned
b/c my husband does not wear a kipa 24/7"

lakewoodyid said...

>Our kashrut is being questioned
eli7 said
b/c my husband does not wear a kipa 24/7

"Do you blaim them for questioning?

If you can't follow the rule which requires a Jewish man to keep his head covered at all times, why should we assune that you perfectly follow all kosher rules?"

Wolf

I was hoping that by the time I finished scrolling to the bottom of the comments you might have reponded to this specific one above by LY because:

1) it's outrageous
2)it's a perfect example of character behavior your excellent post warns against and
3)undoubtedly made Eli7 feel that much more committed to religious observance - NOT!!

What is outrageous is that LY knows full well his statement is false and despite that chose to present it as fact, in particular, to a BT who may not know otherwise. That's low. LY knows full well that while a man should always cover his head, this is not an absolute requirement. There are exceptions to the rule, the most well known and practiced - that a man does not need to cover his head should doing so threaten his livelihood. (See Igros Moshe).Thousands of shomrei mitzvos men throughout the world have not and do not cover their heads at work for just this very reason.I understand why LY would not be familiar with this.

To state otherwise is a bald lie and to connect it to a question of kashrus of the home is so very wrong. This comment makes it clear to me that any of LY's so called toireh ( his pronunciation - not mine)and presumptive yiras shomayim isn't worth crap.

Eli 7

Apparently, you've chosen the wrong community to live in. While you can continue to live in a community where you're religious identity is judged in the manner you reported - possibly even LY's neighborhood - where the concept of working for a living is alien and treated with contempt because it's much easier do subsist on handouts, send your cheder meshulachim to knock on my door for donations to defray LW's kids and his neighbor's kids tuition and continue to pretend you are servicing all of humanity - and hey - all the while get to wear your yarmulka all day.

or

You can do your family a great favor. Move to community where you'll be welcomed, respected and made to feel good about where you are raising your children simply because you are Jewish and leave this other approach to "Judaism" for LY to stew in.

PsychoToddler said...

Wolf:

Exxxxxcelllllent Post!

You've done a great job describing my own personal hashkafa.

I knew you were a ganzeh mentch.

Oh, and I'm a decendent of R' Eibeshutz, so I guess LY won't be setting up any shiduchim with my kids.

But then, I have a TV too.

lakewoodyid said...

>Oh, and I'm a decendent of R' Eibeshutz, so I guess LY won't be setting up any shiduchim with my kids.

>But then, I have a TV too.

Shoots. I was ready to call the shadchan.

lakewoodyid said...

bh,

I did not write that its the correct thing to question kashrus in such circumstances. I'm neither a Rav nor a Posek. I wrote: "Do you ***blaim*** them for questioning".

PS I work for a living.

Anonymous said...

bh,

I did not write that its the correct thing to question kashrus in such circumstances. I'm neither a Rav nor a Posek. I wrote: "Do you ***blaim*** them for questioning".

PS I work for a living.

LY

But you did write -

"If you can't follow the rule which requires a Jewish man to keep his head covered at all times, why should we assune that you perfectly follow all kosher rules? "

Why should ***we***assume...
implies that you also agree that it "is the correct thing to question kashrus in such circumstances".

If you inadvertantly included yourself in the mix - ok - but there is still zero justification for questioning someones home kashrus because the man doesn't wear a yarmulka 24/7 particularly if, as it sounds, the family lives in your neighborhood, davens in your shul etc.

btw - it's "b-l-a-m-e"

bh said...

the above post is from me -bh

lakewoodyid said...

bh,

I had not intended with "we" to include myself.

For the sake of debating with you:

Nearly all UO jews do wear a yarmulka 24/7. If one does not wear it 24/7,

1) He is unaware of the importance of doing so.
2) He is relying on leniencies.

Now, if its 1), then I ask you, if he's unaware of such a basic, wouldn't you agree that its possible that he can be unaware of various Kashrus halachos which are so much more complex?

And if its 2), then perhaps he relies on various leniencies in regards to kashrus also? (like, he can't afford the product with the better hechsher etc..)?

Nice Jewish Guy said...

LY,

The criteria for relying on someone's kashrus has nothing to do with head covering. Head covering is something that was adapted relatively late in Judaism's development. Moshe Rabbeinu didn't wear a kippa. And what about Sfardim? are all Sfardim wrong? Last I checked, wearing a kippah was not one of the 613 mitzvot.

In any event, I quote here R' Shlomo Riskin. And he quotes the Gemara and Shulchan Aruch, in case R'Riskin himself isn't good enough:

"

On the basis of a Rabbinic discussion in a number of places in the Talmud (B.T. Gittin 2b, 3a and Hullin 10), normative Halakha determines that an observant Jew may eat in any home where the individual responsible for the kitchen is a Sabbath observer. Once he/she observes the Sabbath, he/she becomes an acceptable witness who automatically testifies as to the Kashrut of the home. Note well that the Shulkhan Arukh doesn't ask that the would-be guest inquire or himself check into the ingredients; the assumption is that the Sabbath observer (a suitable criteria for which is one who does not use electricity on the Sabbath) would be careful about the Laws of Kashrut as well. As my revered Rebbe Rav Soloveitchik zt"l was accustomed to say, "Kashrut is more a matter of reliability (ne'emanut) than it is of truth." I rely on the Sabbath-observer even though I do not check into all of the products used.


And because I can predict where you're mind is headed, absence of a kippah is not an indicator of one's shmirat Shabbat. (Neither, for that matter, is the presence of one!) As bh said, it is well-known that many observant people do not wear their kippot for work reasons, yet are fully shomer shabbat.

lakewoodyid said...

>And because I can predict where you're mind is headed......

LOL

Let me ask you, NJG. Would the host/hostess get insulted if asked if they are Shomer Shabbos?

bh said...

LY

If a man cannot cover his head because of his professional environment he is not relying on a "leniency" to do so because there is no law codifying this other than minhag which over several centuries has risen to a widely accepted behavior of the observant Jew. Granted, this than carries exceptionally important status but not doing so, particularly with the additional knowledge of a person's shmiras shabbos does not call into question kashrus observance.

two observations:

I'm glad to hear you work for a living, however, in your community that approach is undoubtedly seen as a concession to the ideal lifestyle approach ie full time learning. In essence you are relying on a leniency that permits you to stop learning for the better part of the day and enter the work environment. Doesn't it stand to reason that perhaps you rely "on various leniencies in regards to kashrus also?"

Does questioning an individual's kashrus observance because they don't wear a yarmulka 24/7 possibly justify humiliating them by checking their cabinets? If you really have doubts than make up an excuse and turn down the invitation. I think we can all agree that wearing a yarmulka does not fall into the category of "yehareg ve'al ya'avor. On the other hand, humiliation comes pretty close.

lakewoodyid said...

>Doesn't it stand to reason that perhaps you rely "on various leniencies in regards to kashrus also?"

No. Its called "V'osafta D'gonecha".

>If you really have doubts than make up an excuse and turn down the invitation.

What happens when your standing in their house already?

bh said...

LY

"ve'asafta deganecha" is a blessing for shmiras mitzvos - hardly what I would call working for a living!

What happened - does he make kiddush without a yarmulka but wear one to work? If you accepted the invitation and were so inclined not to rely on the fact that one is shomer shabbos to vouch for their observance of kashrus than your options are to *discretely* inquire beforehand if the host measures up to your rigorous standards of Jewish observance or not go at all and avoid embarrassing the host when you begin your religious inquisition.

lakewoodyid said...

>"ve'asafta deganecha" is a blessing for shmiras mitzvos - hardly what I would call working for a living!

Time to learn a Gemara in Brochos 35:b

http://www.geocities.com/nezik4/brachot/talmud_brachot35.htm

תנו רבנן: '(דברים יא,יד) [ונתתי מטר ארצכם בעתו יורה ומלקוש] ואספת דגנך [ותירשך ויצהרך] מה תלמוד לומר? לפי שנאמר (יהושע א,ח) לא ימוש ספר התורה הזה מפיך [והגית בו יומם ולילה למען תשמר לעשות ככל הכתוב בו כי אז תצליח את דרכך ואז תשכיל], יכול דברים ככתבן (שלא יעסוק בדרך ארץ)? - תלמוד לומר 'ואספת דגנך': הנהג בהן (עם דברי תורה) מנהג דרך ארץ (שאם תבא לידי צורך הבריות סופך ליבטל מדברי תורה), דברי רבי ישמעאל;

רבי שמעון בן יוחי אומר: אפשר (בתמיה: אפשר כדבריך?) אדם חורש בשעת חרישה, וזורע בשעת זריעה, וקוצר בשעת קצירה, ודש בשעת דישה, וזורה בשעת הרוח - תורה מה תהא עליה? - אלא בזמן שישראל עושין רצונו של מקום מלאכתן נעשית על ידי אחרים, שנא' (ישעיהו סא,ה) ועמדו זרים ורעו צאנכם [ובני נכר אכריכם וכרמיכם], ובזמן שאין ישראל עושין רצונו של מקום - מלאכתן נעשית על ידי עצמן, שנאמר (דברים יא,יד) [ונתתי מטר ארצכם בעתו יורה ומלקוש] ואספת דגנך [ותירשך ויצהרך]; ולא עוד אלא שמלאכת אחרים נעשית על ידן, שנאמר (דברים כח,מח) ועבדת את אויביך [אשר ישלחנו ה' בך ברעב ובצמא ובעירם ובחסר כל ונתן על ברזל על צוארך עד השמידו אתך].'

You do have a valid point about the kashrus issue that the research should be done before one goes.

Anonymous said...

LY

re:gemara - you're right - working is not a leniency. Why did I suspect that?
Is this piece posted in your local beis medrash??

good yomtov/chag sameach.

eli7 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
eli7 said...

I wrote a real long post that I chose to delete so I will now give the kitzur as wolf asked me to comment.

Lakewood yid, First of all, wearing a kipa is not one of the 613 mitzvot. Like many frum Jews in our community, he chooses to not wear it to work. (However, in the privacy of his office, he will slip it on his head for eating and drinking purposes.)

Second, you haven't quite explained to me what DH's not wearing a kipa has to do with our kashrut in the kitchen? He doesn't cook and I do cover my hair. As we are both BTs, and he is busy working full-time as well as spending time with our children, he hasn't been able to devote as much time to learning as he wants to. (It doesn't help that the local kollel doesn't seem interested in him b/c of his kipa sruga.)

Brooklyn Wolf,

We moved this community back when it was more "integrated" (seven years ago). Meanwhile, those who could afford it of the MO slant, have since moved to a more affluent area. Recently, we have made it a goal to move in three years from now. By then, i'y'h, we should have our finances in order and be able to use the equity in our house to put towards another place.

Unfortunately, this factors into the high cost of being frum, being able to afford the "right" neighborhood.

Soon, I plan on posting on my own blog regarding the kashrut "tests" employed in this area. One of the stories I plan on sharing (after I get the person's permission) regards how this meshugas can be taken too far.

bh said...

eli7

Why do you feel it's neccessary to indicate that you cover your hair when attepting to defend the kashrus of your kitchen?! All you've done is set yourself up for further abuse in this area by demonstrating that you've bought into the nonsensical litmus tests your "neighbors" use to determine whether they may eat in your house. Quite puzzling.

Valke said...

Sounds like the extended family is a little dysfunctional. I guess "Judiasm is...." is not an easy sentence to complete.

Tamara said...

Haven't read your blog in a long time. Great post. I'll be sharing it. :)