06 June 2006

From the Wolf..."What Judaism Is About"

Brooklyn Wolf got a lot of buzz about a recent post. To read, click http://http://wolfishmusings.blogspot.com/2006/05/what-judaism-is-about.html.

There are those who feel that the wolf and others like us are speaking lashon hara (or motzi shem ra) about our communities by blogging. Before I started this whole thing, I thought that I was the only one who feels the way that I do.

Wolf needed to say this to all of us, especially those of us BTs who sometimes question why we stay frum. There are some mornings I have to remind myself that this is for me (and my relationship to Hashem) not my neighbors. While I respect everyone's right to have whatever relationship with Hashem that they wish to have, I do not like these same people judging my own. I still do not see how cool yiddish papa's decision to not wear a kipa full time RIGHT NOW is connected to my ability to keep a kosher house. Yet, there are people who refuse to pay their employees (and falsify charges to prevent their ability to make a parnasah) who can have "full endorsement" from the local va'ad to open a new restaurant because he's "reliable with his kashrus." (I wouldn't trust his kitchen based on his conduct.) If an inability to conform to "frum dress" is considered being "lax" in other areas, what about being morally corrupt? What is not stopping them from serving Tyson chicken but telling people that it's, for example, KAJ-shechita? I will keep asking people why aren't people just taking the time to get to know each other before judging their frumness. As I said, if you are yeshivish and send your children to a cheder (then again, you might not be reading this anyway), it is your choice to have that lifestyle and raise your children that way. On the other hand, I am being the best Jew that I know how to be and every day, I am growing in this understanding. This doesn't make me more or less frum than you.

Please feel free to comment if you agree or disagree with me. I want to know if it's better to assume that someone is lax on their frumkeit based on external appearances or if you feel that trusting each other (unless the hard evidence proves otherwise) is the better way.


  1. It would seem that your community has forgotten the concept that if you are a member of that community, it is expected that you adher to and uphold the community standards. Therefore, your kashrut etc. won't be questioned unless there was a very serious reason to(seeing you buy traif, but even then the benefit of the doubt could be given, eg you're buying it for someone else or are donating it).

    Unfortunatly, it is becoming form over substance. Consequently, appearances become an incorrect and grossly unfair barometer.

    As soon as you can, move to a more tolerant and less judgemental area. You are not the crazy one, "they are".

    Best of luck.

  2. I would never presume to judge someone else's level of frumkeit, that is not my job, nor am I able to do it.

    However, kashrut is a serious issue. I live in a smaller community, with lots of ba'alei teshuva, and plenty of people who grew up traditional or LW MO. A lot of these people are very sincere and try their absolute best to keep a kosher home. However, many of them don't know enough to do so fully. I have seen hechshers in many homes that are not acceptable to most O-people. Also, many, many people in my community eat out at treif restaurants. So what should I do?

    I don't want to make blanket statements about "only women who cover their hair" and I don't. We try to guess who has reliable kashrut standards, but I have been proven incorrect on several occasions. It is very tricky when you are living in a community with many different standards, to decifer who is keeping kosher at yours.

  3. queeniesmom: That is the plan. We want to move to the more "MO" area in the next few years, i'y'h. I also agree with you about the safek (doubt) idea. I am a BT that also has a close relationship with my mother and we shop together (on occasion). One time she had put traife chicken in our shared cart and I ran into a rabbi's wife (she did not look in the cart, btw). After seeing my embarassment and me explaining that the chicken was my mother's, Mom decided to not buy meat with me, unless it's kosher.

    A tragic outgrowth of this "bed checking" came about with a friend of mine. She grew up in a LW Yeshivish family and married a RW MO. After the birth of her third child, she developed a cyst on her ovaries and had to have them removed, thus putting her into premature menopause (at 31). One Shabbat afternoon, a "guest" excused himself to use the bathroom upstairs. He came back down and was nervous to touch the rest of his lunch. Shortly after, he left. They figured out later that he had opened the door to their bedroom while upstairs, only to discover that they share a bed (since she doesn't have that "niddah" problem anymore).

    Will expand on what I have to say in the next post. Shabbat Shalom.


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