Monday, October 26, 2009

Slam II: מחלוקת במחיצות

So there seems to have been some major beef over at e and TRS's blogs about the very poetry gathering I just wrote about. It seems to be a culmination of sorts, between TRS and his ideologies and Mottel and his. Between the Liberal and open to secularism aspect of Chabad and it's conservative counterpart. While TRS is accepting of the idea of communication between the sexes online and even in real-life social situations where there is nothing to bar the mingling of the sexes, Mottel sees it as a cancer in the heart of Crown Heights, and laments the fact that in the very epicenter of everything that Chabad stands for, and from where it emanates to the world, there should be gatherings that not only bring to question principles of Chassidut, but principles of halacha as well.

To me the disagreement is of interest since I was not aware of this schism until very recently. It seems that the children of the founding generation of Chabad Chassidut in America have spawned a generation that, to an extent, has become just as Americanized as many of their parents before the light of Chabad shone upon them. Yet which is correct (in regards to mingling)? Obviously neither and both, but I wish here not to speak of the objective truth, but of my own experiences on the subject:

In the past I took the stringent approach to this subject. The smallest hole in a dam is likely to cause an entire breach. Halacha and the ideals of Jewish spirituality don't allow for concessions in this realm. Yet upon reflection I questioned whether halacha was not the only factor which affected my behavior. I was by nature the type to be constantly bent over an oversized tome of Talmud, to separate himself from society into a world of individualist spirituality and by nature shun the society of the womenfolk. I concluded that it was not only halacha and tzniut that kept me from socializing, but it was part of my natural disturbing level of timidness. I was only using halacha as an excuse to fall deeper into the trap of my own pathologically unsocial personality. It's not that I didn't believe in speaking to women, it's that I was unable to, even if the situation called for it. Instead of becoming more religious I was actually becoming a social hermit of sorts.

But there are also more generalistic concerns at play here, such as whether total separation of the sexes from an early age is really the best and socially 'healthiest' way to go about things. You see, while it could be it is the religious ideal, the fact is that in many cases the only representation one receives of the opposite sex is the gross misrepresentations of the media. Which in turn causes what I see as a derivative of the principle that "separation makes the heart grow fonder", which is that upon the absence of a person or thing a person can develop a fanciful nostalgia for them. I'm not certain this is always true, but for young men at least, a certain untrue and unhealthy glorification of the fairer sex can develop upon the lengthy lack of a female presence. In my opinion most of us are far more corrupted than the type of individual these halachot were intended for. If anything we require the unideal reality of "rehabilitation". In this instance of "עת לעשות לה הפרו תורתך" one of the only potent forms of rehabilitation is to interact with actual individuals of the opposite sex with the hopes of dampening of this false glorification.

That is if one views the problem from a psychological perspective, but from an ideological perspective there are also good reasons to be flirting. But it is only one of two legitimate, but fundamentally different, outlooks on Judaism. One approach is exclusive, as I was when I was younger, and states that every evil inclination that has ever entered the minds of our people to cause them to sin have been caused by the direct or indirect influence of the ung-dly nations whom we have lived amongst, but during eras when the people of G-d have shunned all influences that were not our own, and cleansed the heathen spirit from within them and without, they were capable of creating a Utopian, g-dly, purely Jewish, society. And if we followed in their footsteps, and threw off of ourselves all the corruptions of the alien gods in our midst, we would be capable of the same spiritual utopia.

The other, absurdly inclusive approach, suggests that "Torah" means 'teachings' or 'instructions'. The instructions are for life itself. If one hides themselves away in a Beit Midrash all the time what opportunity will they have to apply the Torah to their lives. The Torah supposes you engage in life in all it's aspects. In the time of the Talmud our sages were part and parcel of the society around them, and were able to employ EVERY rule of the Torah in reality, the same rules that, to our loss, have become mere theory and intellectual speculation in our time. According to this outlook then, engaging in life and in real world situations (like interacting with females), yet acting in a lofty manner though the application of Torah principles is the very essence of our propose here in this world.

All this is from my own experience though, and does not reflect the Chasidic approach to the subject which spurred the argument I mentioned. Yet I am not discussing the issue with those premises in mind since I believe that much of that movement was founded fallaciously, so it's not worth considering...

And to think; all this and I haven't even mentioned how this relates to the shidduchim issue!

40 comments:

The Real Shliach said...

In a hundred years will there be a great theological debate in Lubavitch, with me as one of the leaders? My ego sings!

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

Ha. Yeah, but you're going to be the leader of the liberal camp! (Of the Great "Seven Hundred and Seventy Poets of Lubavitch". : P)

Sorry my writing isn't as lucid as yours by the way, but I get ideas in bursts, and when I write them all together they don't make a lot of coherent sense, so I have to do a tedious editing process...but I'm too lazy for that, so..

The Real Shliach said...

Winston Churchill: "If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain."

Most everyone is too lazy to edit.

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

Ha. I don't know...to me that seems a bit flippant. (Anyway, liberal and conservative had slightly different connotations in pre-war Briton).

e said...

I'm still waiting for someone to check out what the holy books have to say on this topic. I'm already overstuffed with people's speculations. But I can't complain too vigorously, because I could really do the research myself.

e said...

I'm still waiting for someone to check out what the holy books have to say on this topic. I'm already overstuffed with people's speculations. But I can't complain too vigorously, because I could really do the research myself.

Cheerio said...

very interesting to see your perspective.
glad you enjoyed the evening!

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

אמרו רבותינו באבות "ואל תרבה שיחה עם האישה--באשתו אמרו!, קל וחומר באשת חברו! מכאן אמרו חכמים, כל המרבה שיחה עם האישה גורם רעה לעצמו, ובטיל מדברי תורה, וסופו יירש גיהינם!" י.

Just joking! ; ) Though this is the most pertinent text. Other than this there are some scattered incidents recorded in the Talmud and the topic is discussed in contemporary responsa like the אגרות משה. (From what I recal from the Igrot Moshe he draws some connec tion between hanging out with girls and a חשש of "זרע לבטלה". Not totally sure what that's supposed to mean though...)

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

Cheerio: Yeah, it was very nice. But I'm sure as hell not coming next time if the guys'll be separated from the chicks! : P

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

recal[l]...

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

e: Again, if you're looking for 'official' sources, there're tons of 'em. Two that slipped my mind last time are

1) The fact that one of the "על חטא"s on Yom Kippur is "שחטאנו לפניך בכנסיה שלא לשם שמיים". So we see it's (officialy) wrong to have ANY gathering that isn't for a purely religious purpose.

2) The "תיקון גדול" of the שמחת בית השואבה: As it says in the Baraita in Succah 51-52:

תנו רבנן בראשונה היו נשים מבפנים ואנשים מבחוץ והיו באים לידי קלות ראש התקינו שיהו נשים יושבות מבחוץ ואנשים מבפנים ועדיין היו באין לידי קלות ראש התקינו שיהו נשים יושבות מלמעלה ואנשים מלמטה היכי עביד הכי והכתיב (דברי הימים א כח, יט) הכל בכתב מיד ה' עלי השכיל אמר רב קרא אשכחו ודרוש וספדה הארץ משפחות משפחות לבד משפחת בית דוד לבד ונשיהם לבד אמרו והלא דברים ק"ו ומה לעתיד לבא שעוסקין בהספד ואין יצר הרע שולט בהם אמרה תורה אנשים לבד ונשים לבד עכשיו שעסוקין בשמחה ויצה"ר שולט בהם על אחת כמה וכמה

...which is by far the one that's quoted most often. But again, the question is which situations are these applied...

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

....for example, I recently saw something on Chana's blog (curiousjew.blogspot.com, Oct 27)that benefits the case of us "liberals":

It's known that Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky ("the steipeler gaon")often spoke out against the prevalent practice of ..intimacy without foreplay (I'm at a loss for the proper terminology for that...basically just the physical action without an emotional aspect).

In an interview they asked him, "yeah, but it says in many Talmudic/halachic sources that you should just get it done with and no pleasure should be taken from it (כמי שכפאו שד)?" He answered that in this case the SHULCHAN ARUCH is speaking to people on a higher level than the average person.

..the chiddush being that even the Shulchan Aruch (הנכתב לכל בר ישראל) shouldn't be kept because it's on "too high a level" for us....

e said...

that is quite the chiddush.

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

(nodding my head)

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

...is there something I'm not getting?

Anonymous said...

yah e wow

now back to the host of this blog i get confused between your words and ur name and pic.

i liked ur beginning (of this post) i was also highly entertained to examine the differences in the roots of the soul of MOTTEL and trs, gevurah and chessed.

I can relate to ur discovery of being "pathologically timid" rather than overly religious.

talk to self: ud be too shy to go to the slam (feel ugly). but if u went once twice u'd get accustomed (desensitized) but what would be the good in that? so i am still compelled by religious virtue in my female shyness.

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

"i get confused between your words and ur name and pic"- Yes, the three confuse me as well. ...wha??

"i was also highly entertained to examine the differences in the roots of the soul of MOTTEL and trs, gevurah and chessed."- Yeah, those guys're like yin and yang. Is that some sort of 'play on caps' by the way (i.e. switching the proper letter casing of the two)?

"(feel ugly)"- This got me thinking a bit you know. From my experience I think I've come to the conclusion that ugly girls are better off hanging around large groups of guys, since if there's a "shortage" of girls guys become interested in whatever's available. It sounds absurd, but I've seen it produce successful social results. ..I mention this since at the poetry thing there were a majority guys at some points.

"but if u went once twice u'd get accustomed (desensitized) but what would be the good in that?"- Was that said in humor? Did you not read the post? The POINT is to become desensitized. The "good" in that is becoming socially normal, which is what G-d and His Torah expect of us, even before we first pick up His book of books.

Anonymous said...

ahh! you refer to the unenlightened lubavitchers.
(to be sure one can be deemed unenlightened for lacking enlightenment any one of various and sundry areas.)

yes, being eastern european many a lubavitcher is unenlightened with regard to their Mediterranean brethren.

The symptoms you describe are typical where enlightenment is lacking.

This is why i was almost exulting, "we here on shlichus are no strangers to sefardim tehorim (sic)"

Anonymous said...

forgive me, my above response relates to the previous post and the discussion that followed.

please mentally cut and paste

Menashe said...

With all due respect to HRH"G Kanievsky, he's hit on one of the differences of chasidim and not yet chasidim.

The S'O was indeed written for each and every one of us. It was written with the ruach hakodesh of the mechaber and rema, shach and taz, etc. They were writing for every generation after them. This means that Hashem gave us the kochos, due to their "arrogance" of paskening for all future generations, to fulfill the halacha.

I recommend the tznius shiur R' Gantz gave in CH some time ago. You can find it on the yagdil torah website. He mentions some interesting halachos in there regarding this subject. Like for example, it's an issur, possibly falling under the category of giluy arayos (ie. the big three) to socialize with the ladies. He gave the specific example of a bochur being called to help a shliach at his moisad and friday night the common thing is for the shliach to fall asleep and the shlucha to be up cleaning or shmoozing. Well if the shmoozing is with the bochur, in the words of R' Gantz, that is an "issur gomur."

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

Anonymous: "my above response relates to the previous post and the discussion that followed"- Yes, I understood that.

"being eastern european many a lubavitcher is unenlightened with regard to their Mediterranean brethren. The symptoms you describe are typical where enlightenment is lacking."- That seems to be a faulty flow of logic to me. Yes, acting with ignorance is a sign of being unenlightened, but "being eastern european" isn't necessarily the reason they're unenlightened. Perhaps it would make more sense to say that becoming too nostalgic of Eastern European Jewish life could contribute to an ignorance regarding Jews of other places, since there are, in fact, Eastern European Jews who are aware of other traditions.

"This is why I was almost exulting, "we here on shlichus are no strangers to sefardim tehorim""- And which is why I'm still curious as to where "here" is? Either way, I applaud you for being sensitive to the long rabbinic tradition of the sefaradim and I admit that in many places the shluchim are a positive and necessary presence (unless there were others to replace them who came from a different part of the Judaic spectrum).

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

Menashe: I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. First you say that Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky "hit on one of the differences of chasidim and not yet chasidim" seemingly since non-Chasidim believe in the changing nature of halacha and Chasidim don't? Isn't it a bit of the opposite though? That the Chasidim were the changers of the status quo and 'revolutionaries' in regards to what's considered to be halacha?

Secondly, what you're saying simply isn't true, especially in regards to Ashkenazim; they didn't fully accept Caro's halachic decisions from the beginning based on the minhagim and psakim of previous halachic codifiers from Germany and Poland. And even the decisions of Isserles are sometimes displaced by more recent decisions in "halachic history". So it's very difficult to "canonize" the Shulchan Aruch and it's commentaries in any real sense (if anything Sefaradim are the ones trying to stick to purely following the words of Maran).

"He gave the specific example of a bochur being called to help a shliach at his moisad and friday night the common thing is for the shliach to fall asleep and the shlucha to be up cleaning or shmoozing"- Yeah, that does sound like it has the potential to turn into a pretty "hot and heavy" situation!

Either way, I still feel that this is one of the manifestations of the different approaches to halacha today, i.e. this is a good representation of the way people feel about halacha. And "עוד חזון למועד", Chana (curiousjew.blogspot.com) has just been writing about this very subject (Nov. 8th). I haven't read her words yet, but they seem to side with the liberal camp.

Menashe said...

Let me answer your response out of order.

Shaking hands is also unlikely to lead to any isurim midoraisa but that doesn't make it any more mutar.

Chasidim, by which I assume you mean the Chassidishe poskim, were never mchadesh in halacha with the three exceptions of the Alter Rebbe (shechita knife, which is accepted by all, hot mikvah for men on shabbos, which is only mutar if it is a mitzvah which was the chiddush of the AR, and the third one escapes me.)

If anything, we are more machmir in halacha than previous generations. There are a few exceptions like shalosh seudos, zmanim and sleeping in a sukah, where we are meikel within the daled amos of halacha where there is a very good ruchniusdik reason to do so.

It's a bit too late to say that we shouldn't canonize the S'O. It has happened long ago. Certainly the rulings of the Rema are widely accepted in probably 98% of cases. There are exceptions but they are very few and far between. Nothing was displaced; rather the later poskim ruled on things that were not covered by the Mechaber and Rema.

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

Listen Menashe, comment here more often and you’ll come to see that I ALWAYS have the last word! ..unless of course you end up being right : P

"Shaking hands is also unlikely to lead to any isurim midoraisa but that doesn't make it any more mutar"- ...I'm honestly at a loss as to what this was apropos of? Either way it's funny you mention it, because I generally side with the view that "שלא במקום חיבה" it's ok, so I shook hands (with a lady) the other day as usual and recalled some of the concerns about it, so I decided to review the matter again in it's sources..

"Chasidim, by which I assume you mean the Chassidishe poskim"- Not Necessarily. A lot of original chasidut was started by people who weren't exactly poskim (in a way they were the opposite actually, since they were at odds with the Talmudic camp).

"which was the chiddush of the AR"- Luria was also an innovator in a significant sense.

"If anything, we are more machmir in halacha than previous generations"- Exaggerated or unfounded Chumra as well as kula are equally "innovative".

"where there is a very good ruchniusdik reason to do so"- there may also be a "good ruchniusdik" reason to talk to girls!

"Nothing was displaced; rather the later poskim ruled on things that were not covered by the Mechaber and Rema"- A lot of the concerns and points of concentration of commentators like the 'Sifte Chachamim' and the 'Turei Zahav' have in fact been "displaced" by new and different concerns, like those Rav Yeshaya Karelitz brought up, which, in itself should be concerning, since it shows that, to some extent, the way we view halacha is changing, one way or another.

Menashe said...

What was your conclusion? I wasn't aware of any poskim outside the MO/DL camp who permit it lchatchilla in most situations..

Since we are speaking about halachic "innovations" that is what I referred to. I am taking it as a given that you are not accusing the early Rebbeim of anything but the strictest adherence to halacha. What on earth is the "Talmudic Camp"?

The Arizal, as great as he is, was not a posek. I am, again, referring to halacha here only in terms of "innovation." In quotation marks because there really was precious little of it going on.

There is a ruchniusdik reason to talk to girls if aforementioned girls are your mother, wife, or daughters :-)

The doros change so of course the poskim need to address the concerns of the day. Why does that concern you?

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

"What was your conclusion?"- Well, that was pretty recently so I've yet to get about doing it.

"outside the MO/DL camp"- What's DL?

"I am taking it as a given that you are not accusing the early Rebbeim of anything but the strictest adherence to halacha"- Well, as usual, "halacha" can be defined in many ways. To those who opposed the originators of Chassidut, the "early Rebbeim" weren't keeping halacha in the optimal way.

"What on earth is the "Talmudic Camp"?"- The early "mitnagdim". The originators of Chassidut were put-off by all the hair splitting extravagances of the "Talmudist" rabbis of northern Poland and Lithuania. They opposed "Talmudism" in a way, though they of course did adhere to what's known as "Talmudic law".

"In quotation marks because there really was precious little of it going on"- I think the Arizal's Judaism was fairly different than that of, say, the Rosh (Asheri). ..or even Maran.

"...if aforementioned girls are your mother, wife, or daughters"- Ha. Got scared over there for a second..

"The doros change so of course the poskim need to address the concerns of the day. Why does that concern you?"- It's not just different topics, it's like a "גנצע נייע בריאה" in that our approach to it has changed (i.e. sometimes reading their tshuvot leaves us bored, as ours would leave them). Anyway, in a sense this is the same formula that Conservatism is based on..

Menashe said...

DL = Dati Leumi, the frum Israeli Tzioni (as in the tzionim who actually believe in what they claim and moved), their equivalent of our modern orthodox "Torah uMadda" or TIDE.

Those original accusations were based on misinformation and lies. I highly doubt that if any objective snag would have all the information that he would continue to accuse any chasidim of living kneged halacha.

I suppose I do agree with you on one point; the Torah of the Baal Shem Tov was more than "dry" gemara and halacha. He created such a thing as Torah in the light and warmth of Chassidus.

Anyway, I still don't follow with what you're trying to say with the teshuvos.

Always the mark of a legitimate "chiddush" in avodas Hashem is adherence to halacha. The conservatives obviously threw that out the window decades ago but meanwhile chasidim continue to go lifnim mishuras hadin from a purely niglahdik perspective with a few exceptions (for good reason and still within the bounds of halacha) as was mentioned before.

Menashe said...

By the way I just noticed the segregation on your blogroll. Just wanted to comment that I find it hilarious! Everyone manages to fit somewhere; you even gave the kofrim their own section. Very cute.

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

"DL = Dati Leumi"- Ohh. I (of course) know what Dati Leumi is (since I pretty much am one). It's just that these abbreviations areso absurd at times (like, רוסים שעלו לארץ אתמול becomes RSLE! I can't follow it).

"Those original accusations were based on misinformation and lies."- The original Chasidim weren't exactly like the ones from the ninteenth century. Sometimes the concerns of those opposed to Chasidut were relatively well-founded.

"I still don't follow with what you're trying to say with the teshuvos"- I mean that modern (Haredi) halacha is obsessed with things that seem to have at all concernedthe halachic authors of seventeenth century Europe. ..which would suggest that even the Haredim are straying from their halachic tradition. Some Datiim Leumiim are straying l'kula, but the Haredim are straying l'chumra. אבל כתוב לא תסור מן הדבר...ימין ושמאל .

"The conservatives obviously threw that out the window decades ago"- Well, what should be remembered about Conservatives is that they're coming from a Reform perspective, so as far as it's leaders were/are concerned, they're just trying to spread Judaism within a "shifting framework" as much as possible.

"but meanwhile chasidim continue to go lifnim mishuras hadin from a purely niglahdik perspective with a few exceptions"- I'd say most of the halachic perspective of the original Chasidim was a mix of Kabalah and being machmir like thge Sefaradim in places that Maran is more machmir than the Rama...

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

About the segregation on my blogroll: thanks for noticing man. Yeah, I have a love of proper classificatiuon (I'm sort of a "Ramchalnick", and he was very into classification), and every grouping has a couple of exceptions that don't really fit in anywhere. For example I feel bad "Orthoprax' has to be down there with the kofrim, especially considering that he's explicitly "shomer torah umitzvot", but he never complained! Even how to call not Chabadnicks wen't from Brooklyn guys or girls to "litvish", ..which is kind of a funny word to use...

Menashe said...

Life in the shtetl had different concerns than life in Brooklyn or Bnei Brak. [aside from saying krias shema before sunrise : P]

While I agree that some of the charedi (chabad excluded here) poskim do go a little overboard on things that are not really life or death and we are honestly overall not doing to badly with, like tznius, and ignoring things like kids going off the derech, orthopraxy, empty go with the flow judaism, gneiva and molestation, r'l, I understand that the latter are honestly very difficult to deal with and have few comforting remedies. It's much easier to just ban things like concerts and sheitels.

I reject your hefresh between chasidim harishonim and the chasidim of the 18th century in this regard. You realize that there's maybe a half a century difference between the two?

Using kabalah as a guide for maisa bpoel is I would argue a good "chiddush" as long as it's within the daled amos of halacha as brought down in the poskim.

Anyway I think we're going a bit in circles here.

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

Maybe I should respond actually..

Well said about the Haredim by the way, but the Chabad have just as many unfounded innovations and idiosyncrasies in my opinion.

"I reject your hefresh between chasidim harishonim and the chasidim of the 18th century in this regard. You realize that there's maybe a half a century difference between the two?"- Well, maybe it is a bit problematic that most of my info on the subject comes from Graetz, but I think anyone aware of the history of those events will agree that there was a big discrepancy between them (and there's more like a century difference. The "baal shem" was born 1698).

"Using kabalah as a guide for maisa bpoel is I would argue a good "chiddush" as long as it's within the daled amos of halacha as brought down in the poskim."- There are Conservative tshuvot as well (in Hebrew of course) that are just as convincing and seemingly halachically legitimate, so...

Menashe said...

That's a ridiculous accusation and you know it. Don't give legitimacy to their twisting the words of chazal to suit their purpose.

Following the S'O in 99.9% of cases is not optional.

Baal Shem was a name given to just about every mekubal. Reb Yisroel Baal Shem Tov was indeed born in 1698 but he was not revealed as the nasi that revealed the new path in avodas Hashem that will lead us to moshiach until over 40 years later.

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

Maybe you forgot Menashe, I said you could have the last word only if you were right! : P

“That’s a ridiculous accusation and you know it”- what? That Chabad has some idiosyncrasies?

“Following the S’O in 99.9% of cases is not optional”- I’m still not so sure about the halachic validity of that statement. I keep telling you there’s a big ‘extra-shulchan aruch’ world of legitimate halachic diversity. Anyway, you speak of the shulchan aruch as if only it is followed to the letter. Yet the shulchan aruch never said you have to wear a black hat, in fact he never said you have to wear a kipa (about which sefaradi poskim agree). He never mentioned such basic things as tashlich. He explicitly said doing 'kaparot' is like avoda zara. ...in fact, the "S'O" says nothing of mivtza tanks or of an obsession with mashiach or with the necessity to only abide by the teachings and authority of one man or one dynasty. If the way Chabad practice Judaism is not an "innovation" then what in the world is?! As far as I’m concerned, a "conservadox" Jew who lives up to the ideals of his religion is more praiseworthy than some of the folks over in Crown Heights with all their unfounded doctrines.

Yet on the other hand the shulchan aruch says a few things which are very antiquated or cannot really be kept. The first halacha in the shulchan aruch is to be thinking of g-d all the time. I don't think he 'really' expected that from everyone. And I’m not sure that the “no pleasure from sex” halacha or the “never talk to girls” halachot are even in the shulchan aruch itself…צ"ע

Also, what’s important to note is that the style of the shulchan aruch is extremely consistent with the wording of the gemara. That means he’s more of a stickler for keeping the “Talmudic purity” of halacha than, say, the rambam, who formulates his own terminology or things. And the early Ashkenazim were the ones to come out of the woodworks all of a sudden with their 1,001 minhagim of the maharil and the ohr zarua and such (not to mention the conclusions of the tosafot) which are so at odds with Caro’s work specifically because his words are word-for-word from the Talmud and the Rama sort of brings a breath of life into things because he speaks in his own words and introduces some minhagim never before heard of in the orient.

“baal shem was a name given to just about every mekubal”- I’m aware. I think it had more of a ‘miracle worker’ connotation though.

“the new path in avodas hashem”- Well, there you have it.

Menashe said...

Halacha is a floor, not a ceiling. The way to tell a legitimate Jewish movement is whether it abides by halacha. Minhagim are a step beyond that. So the misnagdim, for example, would fit that category of not being optimal in their derech but fitting the bill for halachic validity. The Conservawhatevers do not.

Obviously black hats and mitzvah tanks are not there. Because those things are not obligated by halacha! Obviously they are not wrong to do; to the contrary..

Think of the difference as pirkei avos is a hashkafa and the rest of the mishnayos are halacha.

Anonymous said...

i cant either let you have the last word:

if you were not nostalgic at all to the minhagim of your predecessors we would not discuss this...

i simply empathize with what you stated in your post, but I see the gulf. Between the DEFAULT STATE OF UNENLIGHTENMENT of many good (eastern european and nostalgic) men and the ENLIGHTENMENT of my (eastern european and nostalgic)father who leads his (predominently Mediterrannean) congregation.
Because he is enlightened he bears their minhagim so carefully in mind with love. It is not the default state of a Eastern European. (The default state of the leader of a congregation, perhaps.)

So I was trying to say:
I Hart Sfardi
Ya thas my hometown

(where? in one of the many enclaves of Israelis in the US...)

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

"If you were not nostalgic at all to the minhagim of your predecessors we would not discuss this"- Well I don't know if "nostalgic" is quite the word. But I would say I’m respectful and even reverent of them.

"(the default state of the leader of a congregation, perhaps.)"- Well I think the militant and proselytizing spirit of modern Chabad has a lot to do with it as well. Either way I’m happy to hear that your dad has respect for the ancestral ways of his congregants, but the truth is (if you're in an Israeli community), that most Israeli Sefaradim know as much about being Sefaradi as the average Chabad guy, so..

I hart sfardi"- You can always convert you know ; ), I’ve seen it done to an extent (but usually not by Chabad).

Anonymous said...

u started with nostalgic