Friday, February 9, 2018

Actions and Consequences

A friend of mine once defined the problem of fundamentalism as being when a person lets one factor dictate everything, without recognizing that there are often a multitude of factors to consider. Life is rarely simple and even if there are strong grounds for pursuing a particular course of action, there are usually other factors that must be considered.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztz"l did not seem to make that mistake, at least in the area of kashrus. Based on questions that I asked him, and discussions that I had with others who had more extensive contact with him, my impression is that he weighed up the consequences. While he no doubt took kashrus very seriously, he also weighed up meticulousness in kashrus against other mitzvos and values. Thus, in certain circumstances, he recommended not being particular about certain kashrut stringencies where it would risk compromising shalom bayis.

One example of people doing the opposite is with the practice in some Orthodox circles to never allow a woman's face to appear in print. Now, I can understand and sympathize with the motivation behind this, even if I don't feel that way myself. But the people engaging in this practice only think about the reasons for doing it. They never seem to take into account the possibility that, regardless of whatever good reasons they might have, there can be negative consequences which might outweigh it.

At a broader level, this seems to have happened with halacha in general. Over the last few decades, there was been a tremendous increase in stringency. This was often done in order to strengthen halachic observance. However, people don't seem to have considered how it can actually have the opposite result. In an age when people are more knowledgeable and independent-minded, they can recognize when halachah has been chumrafied for unsound reasons. This undermines their confidence in the halachic system as a whole.

Tafasta meruba, lo tafasta.

71 comments:

  1. I was discussing this last night. I am of the opinion that this is the fault of the Mechaber, though I doubt it was his intention.

    The Gemara relates, that while Halacha follows Beit Hillel, one is permitted to follow Beit Shammai. However, the Gemara states, in no uncertain terms, that one should not follow the Kulos of both or the Chumros of both. The Gemara's view is that one should follow a single school (of thought), and not shop around for positions one likes best. The Mechaber upended all this by not only by codifying a range of views from different Rishonim, but also by including more stringent views for many Halachot, as an alternative. He does not present a single school of thought, and invites people to pick-and-choose.

    On top of this, we have the extension of what it means to be Machmir. When the Mechaber wrote טוב להחמיר, he was referring to an opinion of what the actual Halacha is that is more strict. Today, this has been extended to mean taking a position that is outside of Halacha altogether, and is more strict than any Posek calls for. That fanatics and zealots try to take these "Chumros" and force them on others is simply an expression of obsessive behavior in humans.

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    1. I'm all for critical analysis but... הוי זהיר בגחלתן של תלמידי חכמים.

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    2. This is a complete distortion of the gemara. The Gemara is referring to following both Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai ON THE SAME ISSUE (either likula or lichumra). Of course, one can rule like Beis Shammai in one area and like Beis Hillel in the other, whether likula or lichumra.

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    3. The entire corpus of halachic decisions from the Amorim onward is Beit Hillel. The notion that people cannot pick and choose between shitot, in that it is tantamount to going according to Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai, is incorrect. Again, ITS ALL BEIT HILLEL, so people should feel free to pick and choose, for the mahmir or the makel. (Although mahmirim should be very careful not to judge makilim as on "lower levels" - which ends up as sinat hinam).

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    4. Milton is correct that I misunderstood that Gemara. But the idea that every decision made after that point in history follows Beit Hillel seems farfetched. If we don't have a specific ruling in their name for the issue, how do we know?

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  2. Has something happened recently to cause you to bring this issue up or are you simply stirring the pot and trying to get people to start spouting their anti-halachicic/ anti-rabonim diatribes?

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  3. Actually, IMHO, it should undermine confidence in Rabbis as a whole. Study the sources and make up your own mind.

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  4. Although I also think it is stupid, I have not been shown any argument that there are negative consequences. People seem to contort themselves into ideas of 'role models' and the like, showing me that there is jo real argument to make. Girls are not segregated from other girls, they don't have to look in the newspaper to find women to know and look up to. The very idea that pictures in the paper are important is part of today's chassidifyin of everything, where the chassidus' pay money to the glossy magazines to publish pictures of their yoiresh eating cake, dancing with a woman or generally modelling some colorful dress he borrowed from his wife. That is not what a Rebbe is supposed to be and it is not needed for Judaism. The women don't need their picture in the paper to be role models for those around them.

    Again, I still think it is a חומרא של שטות, I just don't think it makes any real difference

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    1. What difference does it make?
      A recent study showed that 35% of girls who went “off the derech” cited the hurtful and insensitive attitude towards women that they had experienced in frum society as contributing to their decision to leave.
      What message are we sending to our daughters?
      It is demeaning and has no basis in our mesorah. Some extremist Muslim sects require their women to cover their faces with Niqab face veils. We do not.

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    2. Here's an argument: RBS B. Do your own research.

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  5. TRUE Buying a luluv and estrog used to give me panic attacks
    especially the lulav, when the Rosh disqualified 98% of them because the tip looked like two

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  6. "Now, I can understand and sympathize with the motivation behind this" - I can't, and I am certainly on the conservative side of the ledger. It's one thing not to glorify women in the public sphere. But its quite another to literally pretend such people dont exist at all.

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    1. Stop being silly. No one is pretending they don't.

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    2. who's pretending they dont exist? women run schools businesses, organiztions, stores etc...

      The everyday interaction between men and women that i observe shows that very ''chareidi'' men can and do speak with and help out women in every sphere. If you need to see more women in print go buy a secular paper like the Jewish Press.

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    3. Zaidy G - its not a question of "needing to see more women in print." The Jewish Action recently did that (It ran two articles in the same issue focusing on "women in media" and women in something else I cant recall.) That's a foolish imitation of rootless liberalism, and moves like that will only hurt them. HOWEVER, when women are in the news, like Hilary Clinton the other year, pretending they don't exist by deleting their images is pointless and dumb.

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    4. HOWEVER, when women are in the news, like Hilary Clinton the other year, pretending they don't exist by deleting their images is pointless and dumb.

      Dumb? Definitely. Pointless? I'm afraid not. The agenda is quite clear to those not blinded by our religious affiliations.

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    5. DF

      I sort of took for granted (naively?)that had Hilary won the chareidi media would have made an exception tom publish a head shot.

      I had thought this post was about the recent Mishpacha Magazine pic where faces of women in a holocaust photo were colored in. On that my thoughts were that the entire photo shouldn't have been published in the first place.

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    6. Zaidy G - I guess we can agree to disagree on your last sentence. A Holocaust photo does not serve to sensensationalize the people in them, or glorify or promote them. It is simply a historical photograph. I see nothing wrong at all (nothing even to think about) regarding such photos.

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  7. Rav Shimon Eider, a"h, in the introduction to his book on Hilchos Niddah points out that a strong knowledge of the laws is necessary to avoid chumros that are actually kulos without the person ever realizing.
    But what can you say? The masses are dull and want easy answers. Don't waste their time with complicated teshuvos, just tell them "no" so they can look down on others when they don't do something and feel so frum about it.

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    1. Yeah it’s a lot more pleasant and fun to look down on those who we think are foolishly strict on something that we think is permitted ;).

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  8. More money for cholov yisrael and yoshon in the US means less money available to pay teachers on time.

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    1. Teachers who personally insist on chalav yisrael. (Note, I still don't have an answer: is someone receiving tzedakah entitled to insist on chalav yisrael and or a particular expensive shechitah?)

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  9. I very much agree with your larger point, but this whole woman's picture issue is a manufactured controversy. It's been going on for years, and it's considered perfectly fine in most of the black-hat world. The people who have a problem with it are coming from outside this world -- in other words, not the people for whom Yated, Hamodia, Mishpacha, etc. publish.

    And their arguments, as Zichron Devorim, pointed out, are quite weak. If anything, one can argue that the message girls get is a positive one -- that they are not generally supposed to be in the limelight, that a frum woman's main function is not to be leading the battle but supporting it. The horror!

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    1. How long it has been a policy is debated, but also not really relevant. We are now seeing the result of allowing such a policy to be considered normal. The result is literal violence towards women and those who would publish their pictures. It doesn't matter if this was unintended; if a policy literally harms people, it's a bad policy. There's also the emotional harm it causes, which all the men who support the policy ignores, because it doesn't harm them.

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    2. it's considered perfectly fine in most of the black-hat world

      Actually, I think that this is the difference. It's not considered fine even among many in the black-hat world. Even many of the consumers of those publications find this embarrassing at best.

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    3. Avi,

      Violence? I don't know about Israel, but I haven't heard of any violence toward women in America that resulted from the fact that their pictures don't appear in newspapers.

      David,

      I obviously don't have any statistics, but I don't think you're right. These publications would publish photos of women if their readership was fine with it. I'm not sure why you say it's embarrassing. When you grow up in a certain culture, it's just normal. Lubavitch's leading magazine does not publish photos of women and I have never heard a Lubavitcher complain or feel embarrassed about it (and yes, I have eextensive contacts with Lubavitchers). I don't think I've even heard the issue raised.

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    4. > If anything, one can argue that the message girls get is a positive one -- that they are not generally supposed to be in the limelight, that a frum woman's main function is not to be leading the battle but supporting it. The horror!

      That you think that women's "function" is to support men is a horror. Women are people, not means to an end.

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    5. What you describe as a horror is a mainstream Jewish view. I'm sorry that no view that precedes the 1960s is acceptable to you.

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    6. @Yehudah,

      You don't know about Israel. Exactly. Just give it time. Israel has a lot of exports, and one of them is religious extremism.

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    7. " If anything, one can argue that the message girls get is a positive one -- that they are not generally supposed to be in the limelight, that a frum woman's main function is not to be leading the battle but supporting it. The horror!"

      If that is the impression it gives, you have just given the biggest blow to your own argument.

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    8. "These publications would publish photos of women if their readership was fine with it."

      Not necessarily. There is kind of a heckler's veto going on. The ones that don't want it are more adamant. The ones that think it is crazy think that it is crazy but won't necessarily protest. Stupid is not Assur (despite what the Rav might have said once).

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    9. yehuda is not correct. chabad does NOT delete women from their publications especially the women's ones-- vs the women's sections of ami , mishpacha, and Binah, the women free woman's mag....

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    10. Yehuda - I will meet you half way. You are correct in what you say about supporting the battle, not leading it. Current left wing ideas of actively pushing and promoting women, or running features specifically trying to highlight women, is silly. [It also entirely undermines the whole premise of equality, but we are supposed to ignore that.] So agreed with you there. BUT - sometimes they're legitimately in the news. I gave the example of Hilary Clinton above. Or sometimes they are just part of a picture, not the focus of it. In all these cases, to delete their images for some kind of of hyper-tznius is misguided.

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    11. Current left wing ideas of actively pushing and promoting women, or running features specifically trying to highlight women, is silly. [It also entirely undermines the whole premise of equality, but we are supposed to ignore that.]

      What? Are you against magazine features in general or only those which highlight women? How does it undermine the premise of equality to also highlight women who achieve something significant?

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    12. @Anonymous: Good catch. I missed that claim about Lubavitch. I guess that they somehow let this one slip through the cracks.

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    13. >"How does it undermine the premise of equality to also highlight women who achieve something significant?"

      Because a focus upon them implies that they are not the ones who control who does the focusing. By demanding special attention, you tacitly admit that you are not as important as the one who decides upon whom to turn his attention.

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  10. The deletion of women from picture is bad, but aren't there many much more horrible practices out there?

    1) Not allowing women to drive.

    2) Forcing women to shave their heads.

    3) Not providing children with any secular education (including not learning the language of the country).

    4) Denying the existence of child or spousal abuse within the community.

    5) Denying the existence of homosexuals within the community. (If you can't stomach this one, delete it and address the others).

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    1. Trying to deflect valid criticism of the frum world by pointing to flaws in Muslim countries merely serves to highlight what league your team is playing in.

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    2. 2) Why do you use the word "force"? Are chassidic men forced to grow beards? Maybe, just maybe, these women wish to shave their hair the same way regular Orthodox women want to cover their hair. They "want" to because they believe that's what Hashem wants. (I'm talking about the majority; there will always be rebels.)

      4) Why do you say they deny it? Maybe they just prefer it not being a public issue?

      5) Maybe they prefer to recognize forbidden behaviors (as per the Torah) rather than "identities" built on forbidden behaviors. And maybe their policy leads to less sin and more happiness (or it your contention that homosexuals are happier not having families?).

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    3. No Fozziebear. Unfortunately he was describing the chassidish Jewish community.

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    4. Yavoy and Israel... you know what, you're right. And I didn't even pick up on it.
      Oops. My bad.
      Sorry Rabbi Ohsie.

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    5. Who forces women to shave their heads? There is an old Ashkenazi minhag for married women to shave their heads and some Hungarians continued that minhag. It may not be your minhag, but it is their's. And they choose to keep it.

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    6. @Yehudah:

      2) Because because that's not how it works. If a woman (even with her husband's agreement) decide they want to opt out, she will be reported and forced to cut or leave the community.

      "I looked down at my dark shoes and thick beige stockings. How did the Va’ad Hatznius find out? It must have been the neighbors who saw a stray hair, who noticed that I wore the same turban all the time. It was the only turban I could find that would fit on top of the large, white knit kippah I bought in the hosiery shop, the type that Hasidic men wear to sleep at night, which held my mass of hair securely in place. I would spend many hours a day with these neighbor women while my children were playing outside. They must have ratted me out. Or, perhaps, the mikveh attendant reported me because I had been absent for more than a year."
      Read more: https://forward.com/culture/187128/ex-hasidic-woman-marks-five-years-since-she-shaved/

      4) Because that is not how it works. They deny it.

      http://crownheights.info/chabad-news/478383/csa-survivor-breaks-her-silence/

      https://archive.org/details/VID20160501WA0003

      https://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/satmar-issues-slick-pr-statement-about-the-video-of-rabbi-hirsch-and-the-child

      http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/new-york/2016/05/12/kiryas-joel-raids/84279058/


      5) Because they just deny it. No one in any Orthodox school outside the left-wing perhaps says "Hey some of our students are undoubtedly gay. Let's make sure no one makes of fun of them and let's figure out how to counsel them properly (admittedly, there is no great orthodox response)".

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/no-homosexuals-in-beit-shemesh-mayor-asserts/

      https://www.keshetonline.org/videos/it-gets-better-gay-orthodox-jews/

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    7. The last two apply the full spectrum of orthodoxy. I live in Baltimore and the level of denial around a recently revealed abuse case is astounding.

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    8. @Fozziebear: On the contrary, you made my day! Plus I'm not a Rabbi (which is good because I can say what I like).

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    9. How did the Va’ad Hatznius find out?

      General comment: That such a thing exists in any community should be evidence enough that some Orthodox Jews are off the rails. Tznius is a personal thing. Enforcing Tznius is no one's job, in this day and age. No more than we have a Shabbos Va'ad or a Kashrut Va'ad.

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    10. You think what you've listed is bad? Just think of all the things those rabbis to do ALL orthodox Jews, not only women:

      1) Forbid us from driving or using electricity on Saturday
      2) Forcing us to keep our sideburns, or forbidding us from shaving with a razor.
      3) All but eviscerating secular studies by fierce criticism of it in the Talmud
      4) Denying the existence of evolution
      5) Denying the existence of pig-eaters, Shabbos violators, uncircumcised, etc etc.

      Obviously you must feel deprived, and don't tell me you don't, you're not smart enough to make your own life decisions. You need an outsider completely foreign to your way of life to tell you what to think and do.

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    11. @DF

      Are you mad? Do you not see the difference between made-up BS and actual Halacha?

      1) Driving involves a clear Melacha (except for all electrics). RSZA is on record as permitting the use of electricity if it were not already a Minhag Klal Yisroel not to.
      2) It's not the Rabbis who forbid that. And plenty of people do shave their sideburns. It's not forbidden.
      3) The secular literature which existed then was studied by many Rishonim.
      4) This doesn't even make sense. Who is forcing anyone to deny evolution? Not even the Catholic Church does that anymore.
      5) What does this mean? Who denies such people exist? Get your doctor to lower your dosage. It's messing up your mind.

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    12. @DF: I honestly didn't get your point.

      If you are saying, well just don't listen if you don't agree, then I would respond as follows: I was taught English, can drive, have a job, am not gay and have, thank God, not been abused. Others are in different situations and can't just say "well I think that learning English is just dandy, so I'll do it myself" (or the equivalent for the other 5).

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    13. David Ohsie - the salient point is that people CAN think for themselves. I find it patronizing and obnoxious, not to mention simply ignorant, when bigoted and atheistic leftists presume to claim that religious people subcontract their thinking out to their rabbis. [Do they subcontract our their thinking to the Guardian or the New York Times?]

      In the same vein, your uninformed comments of "forcing women" or "not allowing women" to do this or that are equally outlandish, and sexist to boot. The women don't need you to be their knight in shining armor. They can think for themselves, thank you. Is it hard to leave a community? Sure it is. Its hard for anyone to leave any community he grew up with, Jew or non-Jew; Man, woman, or child. But it can be done. So long as no one is literally holding a gun to their heads, they're made a choice to live with restrictions just as much as you have. And try to think outside the box a little. What chassidim live with almost certainly bothers them to the same extent that it bothers you that you cant eat a cheeseburger - not at all.

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    14. David Ohsie - the salient point is that people CAN think for themselves. I find it patronizing and obnoxious, not to mention simply ignorant, when bigoted and atheistic leftists presume to claim that religious people subcontract their thinking out to their rabbis. [Do they subcontract our their thinking to the Guardian or the New York Times?]

      So now I'm a bigoted and athestic leftist?

      Getting to your point, it's amazing that every single Satmar woman thinking for herself comes to the exact same conclusion. I wonder why they need that Vaad Hatznius then?

      Did you read the article? They are forced (besides the trauma forced on young women by their parents).

      So long as no one is literally holding a gun to their heads, they're made a choice to live with restrictions just as much as you have

      This is completely ridiculous. First off, there is such a thing as violence without a gun (e.g. the New Square arson where a Skverer's house was firebombed because he had the temerity to attend a different Minyan.)

      Second, if you raise someone speaking Yiddish only with no secular education plus you were never taught how to drive, then it makes it very, very difficult to leave even without threats of violence. It is not the same at all.

      Finally, even for those who can speak English, forcing anyone (let alone Shomrei Torah) to cut off contact from their family and/or community because they want to be able do drive a car or grow their hair is very oppressive. Threats of physical violence are not the only form of coercion in this world. They decidedly do not have he same choices that I had and have (and that I give to my kids).

      And try to think outside the box a little. What chassidim live with almost certainly bothers them to the same extent that it bothers you that you cant eat a cheeseburger - not at all.

      This is absurd. I myself had a Conservative Bar Mitzvah. I guess it would have been OK with you if my parents had cut me off for choosing Orthodoxy? Everyone is different, and some people in closed communities do chafe and sometimes leave. The shaving custom is an absurd distortion of Judaism, IMO, but just IMO. Let's assume that it is just another Minhag and that many like to do it. The issue is that they are not free not to. Some may want to submit but others are being tortured.

      And goes without saying that the the last 3 issues are complete coercion.

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    15. An attempted point-by-point responding is tedious and never convincing, David Ohsie, especially in a comment. A good rhetorician doesn't do it. Stick with one point per comment, and you'll do better.

      In this case, your surprise at seeing yourself potentially labeled a bigot is illustrative. What is a bigot, if not someone intolerant of other viewpoints? There are hundreds of thousands of Chassidic/Charedi women to whom your comments would be found both patronizing and insulting. You say you had a Conservative bar-mitzvah. Perhaps then, their world is foreign to you. That's fine, you don't have to be part of it. But try to understand them, instead of slinging mud at them.

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    16. All cultural practices, no matter how perverse, have adherents. Even the FLDS had female adherents along with those who were trying to escape.

      If a woman feels that shaving their hair or not driving is a devotion to God, then that is their right. It would also be the right of a man to think that he should shave his head or not drive. It would also be their right to worship Jesus, L'havdil.

      The main point here is that it is only in a very closed society with severe punishments for violating the norms are such extreme norms able to survive. The fact that it works and people agree to them is not evidence that they are not harmful, nor is pointing this out bigoted or patronizing in the usual meaning of the terms. The greatest concern is obviously for those who really would rather opt-out, but can't, not those who fit in well.

      What I found funny was you asserting that this was a leftist atheist viewpoint when you are arguing with a right-leaning Orthodox Jew (and I'm guessing that those who agreed with me are also not leftist atheists either). But you are free to construct your own bubble, just as some Jewish groups do.

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    17. DF,
      You wrote " find it patronizing and obnoxious, not to mention simply ignorant, when bigoted and atheistic leftists presume to claim that religious people subcontract their thinking out to their rabbis."

      And yet those same very orthodox jews pride themselves on doing just that. How many times have we heard pride / praise for ' the importance of following the instructions of the Gedolim'?

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    18. David Ohsie - orthodox society is also a closed society with severe punishments for violating the norms. Cant be part of shul, people wont eat at your house, people wont marry your kids, etc. From an outsider to orthodoxy's perspective, its just as bad as your outsider's perception of chassidim.

      Fozzie - agreed. But orthodoxy doesn't claim to be "tolerant." It's a trope of the left, and yet manifestly its not true.

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    19. DF,

      Then we agree. Religious people do subcontract out their thinking to rabbis, regardless of who points it out (bigoted atheists or bigoted orthodox jews).

      What does DF stand for, by the way? Having read your comments, one possibility just crossed my mind...

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    20. @DF: First off, I agree to some degree and that is why I listed two terrible norms that have nothing to do with Chasidic Judaism. Ostracizing people for reporting child abuse is horrific and not Chasidic per se (although the penalties are more extreme there).

      That said, the practices are less extreme and the control much looser in American non-shtetl Orthodoxy. Kids are given and education and can choose to leave if they want to (and many do). If you never learn any secular studies, that becomes much more difficult. My wife covers her hair, but the tznius police are not to going to get her if she didn't and people would still eat at our house and we still could go to shul. There are even non-frum spouses of frum people who are part of the community.

      In any case, my original point remains. If someone is worried about a magazine removing pictures because of extremism, then women not being allowed to drive is much more significant (and it is forced on them to a greater degree). If you think such extremism is simply no big deal, then obviously neither will concern you.

      You are absolutely correct that non-orthodox consider orthodox to be extreme. My only answer to them would be that people are, relatively speaking, doing it voluntarily in my world. If they want to leave, they can (and do).

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    21. But orthodoxy doesn't claim to be "tolerant."

      It's much worse than that though. The various Shomrei Torah subgroups won't each each others food and hardly (or don't) consider the other to be observant Jews. There are terrible fights within the extreme subgroups themselves. It is insane.

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    22. In practice we probably agree on many points. The wig burning that just occurred in Jerusalem last night, for example, was psychotic, more pagan than Jewish. But that's an aberration, a one time event by fringe Jews.

      Where we disagree in on regular, mainstream Chassidic Jewish life. Though not my cup of tea, one cannot call them extreme. They are simply different standards. As you said, they are doing it voluntarily, and people can and do leave. Leaving a society is never easy, no matter what your background. (As always, never be taken in by outsider media or do-gooders promoting their pet organizations. If you have any knowledge of the Chassidic or Charedi world - and I am intimately familiar with both - you'll know there are people "coming and going" all the time. There's plenty of millionaires in those worlds, you know. They're not as uneducated as you seem to think.)

      Fozzie - they're my initials.

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    23. What does DF stand for, by the way? Having read your comments, one possibility just crossed my mind...

      Fozzie - they're my initials.

      I'm amused by an anonymous commenter asking about the identity of a semi-anonymous commenter :).

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    24. DF: It probably depends on the definition of mainstream Chassidic Jewish life. Of course the Chasidim in Baltimore are relatively integrated into the community and for the most part send their kids to the same schools where they get a normal to deficient secular education depending on the school. If a Satmar in Baltimore wants to grow her hair, nothing at all will happen to her and I'm sure therefore that there are lots that do it and that there are lots that leave altogether.

      But Kiryas Yoel and New Square are on the other extreme. If you visit, you will know that you cannot communicate with the young people in New Square there unless you know Yiddish. They have various official and/or unofficial methods for enforcement (Vaad Hatznius; firebombing) as mentioned above. Crown Heights is probably somewhere in between (no secular education, but I'm guessing lots more exposure to the rest of the world). You are correct that I have not visited every Chasidic community and don't know the details of each.

      Also, I'm not picking on Chasidim. The closed Litvish societies in Israel have their crazy extremism. See Ponevezh.

      My neighbor is a Gerrer, a Talmid Chacham and a Shochet. He can't get a Schitah job with other Chasidishe sects because his wife doesn't shave her hair and because the Gerrer are "Zionists". This is insane.

      So my point remains that the silly magazine policy is terrible, but there are other much worse extremisms out there.

      And I'll repeat the that treatment of sex abuse victims and homosexuals happens almost everywhere Orthodoxy. So you are correct that Orthodoxy generally has its problems (just like other societies have theirs).

      The pattern, I think, is correct though. More closed = more extremism. If leaving is more costly, then staying can also be made more costly. That's simply economics.

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    25. when bigoted and atheistic leftists presume to claim that religious people subcontract their thinking out to their rabbis

      Is this even controversial? I know plenty of people who take the view that they will base any major life decision on the "Daas Torah" of their Rav. This is a commonplace, not a false stereotype. Get out a little :). Not all Orthodox are like you.

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  11. RSZA said more than once that he could
    Only 'afford' himself to
    To either decide questions in As if in a vacuum ,or conversely take into consideration mitigating other factors that Other Great Rabbis would strenously ignore in ,
    Only because those
    Great Ones were Fighting the bigger eschatological Battles
    already

    Otherwise he would be obliged himself to do so and operate accordingly


    So there goes your thesis

    ReplyDelete
  12. Haredim have created a caricature of Torah Judaism. Such a turn off!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. More Rabbis like Rav Slifkin have to speak up to keep Orthodox Judaism from going off the deep end. Or has it already ?
    "Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztl...he recommended not being particular about certain kashrut stringencies where it would risk compromising shalom bayis." EXACTLY RIGHT. My elite Litvak Rabbinic great grandfather and grandfather, based on my fathers testimony would very likely agree, but go beyond that. They would bend over backwards to lighten the financial burden of complying with Jewish law and tradition. I imagine they are turning in their graves: cost of esrog, shmurah matza (which grandfather deemed less favorable than machine matzah and for good reasons), 'glatt' kosher meat, chalov yisroel milk, crazy insect searcing and on and on and on. ACJA

    ReplyDelete
  14. Putting images of beheaded girls in magazines, yeah I'm sure that's not disturbing to children and adults at all. I'm sure that helps development and mental health in big ways....

    ReplyDelete
  15. R Dovid Cohen, hardly a left winger, calls the move to remove women's pictures not a Minhag, but a "sales competition" (in other words, a competition to see who can appear more frum). You can here it at 31:30 here: http://podcast.headlinesbook.com/e/32517-tznius-contemporary-shailos.

    He says the same about Yeshivas that don't allow attending college and giving Shiurim in Yiddish.

    ReplyDelete
  16. R Dovid C
    Prides himself for being a Maverick and is always all over the map


    He is dead wrong e.g. re: Yiddish ,but someone from Baltimore couldn't be expected to comprehend that


    Instead being overly concerned for chassidic women or at least incapable of voicing complaints through the normative channels

    How about Retaking Judaism 101?



    What is (one of the) only sins that is

    harog V'al Ya'aver,
    Punished through Stoning,
    0ne of 7 noahide mitzvos,
    Technically one can kill the violator en route to the act,
    Is never waved aside ( as even murder is on occasions)??

    Hint:you've referenced it at least twice dismissively

    CC's husband

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CC's husband: You hit the nail on the head with your last comment. There are lots of kids in Orthodox schools today who realize that they are attracted to other boys in the same way that you were attracted to girls at that age. What you write causes the Orthodox to deny their existence. I mentioned that, in fairness, Orthodoxy hasn't settled on a good approach yet. But the current "denial" approach amounts to child abuse.

      Delete
  17. For those that buy into Dr Slifkin's narrative on chareidim, read this :
    http://matzav.com/rav-baadani-fake-giyus-banos/

    Have to take with a grain of salt when Dr Slifkin claims chareidim are all out of touch. He manages to find the most vocal "chareidi" idiots and amplifies their nonsense. Most chareidim are normal.....as the saying goes "a penny in an empty box makes a lot of noise "
    It's the loud crazies that Slifkin likes you to think are the vocal and silent majority.

    ReplyDelete

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