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Another lame attempt to blame going off the derech on the internet and “secular society”

Every few years or so, some publication in the frum community decides to do a big write up about how we are losing our children to the terrible secular society, they are going off the derech in droves and we can’t blame the frum community so let’s blame whatever current “fad” we can. It used to be drugs and television and now it’s the internet and billboards.

It really kind of gets to me when I read pieces like the latest piece about how the “at risk youth crisis” is turning into the “orthoprax kids crisis.”  Kids used to dress rebelliously by wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Now they stick with the garb, but don’t really believe. It’s funny because these articles just seem to be copying the older generation of scare-tactics, but of course a frum publication like Mishpacha (which some foolish people believe to be forward thinking and progressive) would never admit that it’s not only “frum” looking kids who don’t believe,  it’s just as serious, if not more serious, of a problem in the adult community as well. Oh, and writing about the “kids at risk” and “shidduch crisis” always sells a lot of copies and gets people talking because it’s juicy news.

I didn’t have to slave through the boring “been-there, done-that” article that Vos Iz Neias was so gracious to post, in order to understand that the article would be exactly the same as hundreds before it. Instead of blaming ourselves, we will blame the internet and the secular society’s constant advertisement which encourage you to do whatever makes you happy. Of course this implies that if being frum doesn’t make you happy you shouldn’t be frum.  I readily agree.

If you are a depressed and anxiety filled frum Jew what’s the point of that? Are you really contributing to society by being a depressed guy who happens to put on tefillin and keep kosher? It doesn’t seem to me like you’re really doing anything besides trying to secure a slot in the next world. I have a friend who recently went off the derech, when I asked him why, he gave me the best answer I’ve ever heard, “because it just wasn’t working for me and now I’m happy.” The derech isn’t for everybody, not everyone who grows up frum is meant to be frum. This may be heretical according to some of you, but I firmly believe that frumkeit isn’t all there is to Judaism. You can really do a lot of good for the Jews and the world at whole – even if you don’t keep kosher or cover your elbows.

But the frum community is always trying to figure out what went wrong, as if something must have gone wrong for this kid or adult to reject their community. Usually it’s true, something did go wrong. Sometimes the person may have a talent which cannot be fulfilled within their community, sometimes they wish to explore secular studies and their specific community frowns upon this. Sometimes, like so many people, they just want to explore, but their community sees exploration as bad. Questioning is bad and freedom is bad, it goes against the mesorah!

The frum community needs to get over itself and start looking within, why doesn’t the modern orthodox community have these issues. Well, they do, but not the extreme case that the yeshivish and Chassidish communities do. Could it be that Torah Im Derech Eretz actually works better than Learn, Learn and then die? What if a kid doesn’t want to sit in yeshiva? Then what? If you want to see what happens when Charedim embrace the internet, secular society and so on – just look at chabad, I know you folks at Mishpacha Magazine and Vos Iz Neias are jealous – but chabad has far more influence and reach than all of the other Charedi movements combined merely because they saw the internet and secular society as a way to reach those within the “secular” society. I hate the words secular society – it sounds so stupid. So while chabad is winning contests to send disabled kids to school on the internet, which you abhor, you are sitting around worrying about how to keep this evil yetzer harah out of the house.

The yeshiva and Charedi community needs to stop blaming “outside” secular influence and the internet for the community’s own problems.

I have a friend who recent left the path of orthodox Judaism, who’s never been happier. He respects others decisions to stay within the fold, but when I asked him how he could just suddenly stop being frum he answers, “It just wasn’t working for me” in a matter fact way that begs no more talk about the subject. I respect his decision, he was a depressed individual when he was frum and now he is the happiest I’ve ever seen him.

{ 137 comments… add one }
  • Anonymous October 27, 2010, 10:20 AM

    First comment

    • Yserbius the Yekke October 28, 2010, 1:55 PM

      This is the world caring about your mouse clickitivity.

  • Whaaaat? October 27, 2010, 10:23 AM

    Hashem is for everyone & Torah is for everyone. Period.

    The problem is when people equate Yeshivish with Frumkeit, and when they think you have to be bound by all the extra Laws that the Yeshiva Movement has imposed.

    Halacha is Halacha. Extra Chumras that the Yeshiva World makes sound even worse to transgress than actual Halacha is just insane, and I believe this is a factor in kids going OTD.

    Yiddishkeit is beautiful and it isnt flawed… the way Hashem made it. When Rabbis come in and impose extra stuffy elitist rules thats what turns people off.

    “Questioning is bad”
    No one believes that. Yiddishkeit is about questioning and seeking out the answer. They are there. There are answers to everything, you just have to be open to hearing them.

    • Researcher October 27, 2010, 11:57 AM

      I really hope this comment isn’t serious…

      Hashem and Torah haven’t been for everyone since the Enlightenment, when people stopped being satisfied with dogma and started demanding proofs. I’m an observant Jew myself, and I found your comment to be extremely narrow-minded. Even if you claim that Sinaic Torah is “for everyone,” because it’s divine, you can’t make the same claim for rabbinic law. Most of the Judaism we have today is a product of being expelled from Palestine after Bar-Kochba. Whereas before we were Israelites or Judeans; we were forced to become Jews because we were no longer living as a nation.

      • Guest October 27, 2010, 12:05 PM

        “Hashem and Torah haven’t been for everyone since the Enlightenment,”

        I really hope this comment isn’t serious …

        Hashem and Torah haven’t been for everyone since Biblical times … I’m an observant Jew myself, and I found your comment to be extremely narrow-minded.

        • Guest October 27, 2010, 12:23 PM

          By the way, enough with the canard that everything post-Enlightenment is based on absolute “proofs.” That’s complete horse shit, and if you had the brains or honesty to admit it, you would.

          • A. Nuran October 27, 2010, 2:36 PM

            It’s not true. But it’s a lot closer than “This Book tells me this book is true. So this Book is true. Besides, we’ll put you in cherem or kill you if you don’t believe in it.”

            • Yankel October 29, 2010, 1:45 AM

              You happen to be correct in that our attitude in dealing with those of us who reject our doctrine sucks, but that’s an interpersonal manners problem.
              It doesn’t say anything about what it says in the Torah.

      • Whaaaat? October 27, 2010, 3:06 PM

        I meant for the Jews.

        Because you are now “enlightened” you can throw Hashem to the wayside?

        What, you think Hashem didnt know all the crap the “enlightenment” figured out?

        Any Ta’ana could have told you that stuff!

        • G*3 October 27, 2010, 3:44 PM

          > Any Ta’ana could have told you that stuff!

          Of course! They could have built jetliners and made antibiotics if they had wanted to! They just thought it was more fun to travel in leaky wooden ships and wach people die of bubonic plauge.

          • Whaaaat? October 27, 2010, 4:09 PM

            ….Because the Rambam became the king of Egypt’s personal doctor by kissing his boo boo.

            • G*3 October 27, 2010, 8:23 PM

              Being an accomplished physician by the standards of his time does not equal the Rambam having knowledge of modern medicine.

              • Whaaaat? October 28, 2010, 9:45 AM

                I can assure you the Rambam was well versed in “Modern Day Medicine” as well. Dont fool yourself.

                • G*3 October 28, 2010, 12:31 PM

                  > I can assure you the Rambam was well versed in “Modern Day Medicine” as well.

                  You can? You have writings of his that show he had medical knowledge that wouldn’t be discovered by others until centuries later? Or are you just making unfounded assertions?

                  > Dont fool yourself.

                  I’m assuming that the Rambam was brilliant and an accomplished physician, but, like everyone else, limited to the knowledge of his time. You’re assuming he had magical powers that let him know everything there is to know. Which one of us is fooling himself?

                  The funny thing is that the Rambam would himself object to the magical approach you seem to favor.

                • Friar Yid October 28, 2010, 11:56 PM

                  Especially things like chemotherapy and Cat-scans, right?

                • A. Nuran October 29, 2010, 1:11 AM

                  “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”

                  Horse apples and splinters require three angels blowing trumpets.

                  Where does Rambam talk about blood circulation, the Krebs cycle, nephrology, the germ theory of disease, and the prion responsible for Alzheimer’s disease? Better yet, what medical knowledge that we don’t yet have does he predict?

        • A. Nuran October 27, 2010, 5:43 PM

          So why did the Ari and his family die of (easily treatable) cholera?

          How come half the “Great Old Ones” – in the most precise Lovecraftian sense – still believe the Sun goes around the Earth?

          What is so dangerous about the idea of Science that these same Great Old Ones screamed and jammed their fingers in their ears and forbade all of Slifkin’s work without even reading them?

          Why do primitive superstitions like numerology, washing hands in magic water and Neolithic menstrual taboos still reign in the yeshiva?

          How come their technical philosophy is still mired in the sixth or seventh century at best? Why are their metaphysics, epistemology, logic and ethics so freaking primitive?

          • Milhouse October 27, 2010, 11:27 PM

            If it leads to brazen apikorsus such as you’re preaching now, then it ought to be banned.

            If you believe the Enlightenment changed anything, that somehow the Torah is less true now than it was before then, or less binding on everyone, then you’re an apikores. There’s no difference between a Zeus-worshiper and one who believes that the Torah (shebichsav OR sheb’al peh) is not binding on everyone. If that is what you believe then none of your mitzvos are worth anything, so you may as well stop pretending to be orthodox, and go enjoy your olam hazeh, since it’s the only world you have.

            • Tova October 28, 2010, 2:45 AM

              Oh, you.

              Do you even realize what you’re saying?

            • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 6:22 AM

              I see. So if Talmud says black is white and night is day, then it must be so, no matter whether it’s true or not. And anyone who says otherwise is an apostate.

              You have just declared that Judaism is composed of lies. And anyone who tries to discover the truth is an apostate.

              You have convincingly argued that God is a liar, Torah is unfit for honest people and that your only claim to legitimacy comes out of the barrel of a gun.

              Congratulations. You have just made atheism, paganism and anti-Semitism more morally palatable than Judaism.

              • Whaaaat? October 28, 2010, 9:43 AM

                Like the great Kotzker Rebbi once said:

                I would not want to worship a G-d I can understand.

                • Puzzled October 28, 2010, 9:48 AM

                  And I would not want to worship one you made up.

                  • Whaaaat? October 28, 2010, 10:06 AM

                    The fact that the other 2 Major religions base their religions on ours is not proof enough for you that ours is the Original and the True one.

                    I’m sorry, if you choose to be ignorant, I cant help that.

                    • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 10:13 AM

                      You really don’t want to go there.

                      Reason 1: Two improvements so far on the original flawed model

                      Reason 2: Hinduism has EVERN MORE religions based on it, so it must be even better

                      Reason 3: So now we’re poseking Torquemada, Osama bin Laden and Khomeini.

                      And so on. And on.

                    • otd bec October 28, 2010, 10:14 AM

                      lots of people base their personal truths on the personal truths of others, regardless of actual legitimacy.

                    • Whaaaat? October 28, 2010, 10:44 AM

                      @ Nuran

                      So if 3 retards bow down to a celery stalk and then 4 more people decide that is the way to go, are you going to believe that those original 3 nut cases may have some legitimacy?

                      Really, I *thought* you were smarter than that…

                    • G*3 October 28, 2010, 12:34 PM

                      Whaaaat? said:

                      “The fact that the other 2 Major religions base their religions on ours is not proof enough for you that ours is the Original and the True one.”

                      Then he (she?) said:

                      “So if 3 retards bow down to a celery stalk and then 4 more people decide that is the way to go, are you going to believe that those original 3 nut cases may have some legitimacy?”

                      I have nothing to add.

                    • Anonymous October 28, 2010, 2:51 PM

                      The only one ignorant here is you.

                      The fact that people tend to adopt other people’s belief systems, doesn’t grant the beliefs legitimacy. Proof that Judaism is valid can only arise from the veracity of its claims, not from the number of copycats it has produced.

                    • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 2:58 PM

                      Whaaat, G*3 seems to think the flaw in your argument is so obvious you will recognize it. He could be optimistic.

                      First you say that Judaism is obviously true because two large religions are based on it. Clearly, the number of religions a faith gives rise to give it legitimacy.

                      Vedic Hinduism gave rise to more religions than Judaism. By your own standard that should prove it is superior.

                      But then you say that it doesn’t matter how many people or religions come from a religion.

                      You’ve directly contradicted yourself and caught your shmekele in a cleft stick of your own cutting.

                    • Whaaaat? October 28, 2010, 3:25 PM

                      This can go in circles all day.

                      If you look at the time period when Judaism was started you will see that it was the only Organized religion. Along comes Jesus (who people at the time think is crazy) the a couple 100 years later Peter decides to organize his concepts in to the New Testament. Later on Muhammed (the Epileptic) has “visions” and starts preaching his religion.

                      The outcome of their Religions are FAR greater than ours but they are both BASED on concepts in the Torah, besides historically we are there first (But, maybe you dont believe in history either…)

                      If you take into account every nut job that ever had a following you can end up in Jonestown sipping cool-ade. I’m talking World following. Masses. Western civilized people. Altho we can make the argument about Islam, but thats for another time…

                    • Puzzled October 28, 2010, 4:11 PM

                      Sure, if you start with the assumption that one must be true.

                    • Whaaaat? October 28, 2010, 4:16 PM

                      If you wouldve told me to begin with that you worship yourself, we couldve saved a lot of time.

                    • G*3 October 28, 2010, 7:52 PM

                      > This can go in circles all day.

                      What circles? You directly contradicted yourself. You do see that, right? If you think it’s not a contradiction, please explain.

                      > If you look at the time period when Judaism was started you will see that it was the only Organized religion.

                      Right. Except for all the other ones. Let’s see. Hinduism. Zoroastrianism. The Egyptians built huge temples to their gods and had complex rituals performed pretty much the same way for thousands of years. That seems pretty organized. But let’s not “go in circles.” What’s your definition of “organized religion?”

                      > I’m talking World following. Masses. Western civilized people.

                      What, no love for Zeus? How about Athena? The Parthenon, one of the great symbols of Western Civilization, was built in her honor. How about Jupiter? The Roman Empire should certainly count as Western Civilization, and the Romans spread the worship of their gods to millions of people.

      • Synapse October 27, 2010, 5:31 PM

        The Torah is certainly for everyone (especially today, if you really think about it, following Torah law doesn’t take much effort if you know what’s actually Torah and what’s Rabbainic). At this level, you’re basically complaining about the essentials (i.e. can’t live without pork or something)

        The Rabbinic laws add an extra twist, but they too are for everyone and should not overly infringe on one’s person very much (don’t forget that stuff like maariv were still totally optional). Rabbinic Judaism was fairly comfortable in the Talmudic period. The problem is definitely the many chumras we have added since then. If someone is freaking out because he can’t focus on G-d all the time and needs to have some kitniyot during pesach, ya know what? There’s worse things. People need to learn to relax.

        • A. Nuran October 27, 2010, 5:45 PM

          Ah, but by rejecting Rabbinic authority you are a Karaite, an apostate according to normative Judaism.

          • Yankel October 31, 2010, 6:54 PM

            What is the problem with that?
            Is Judaism not allowed to have it’s laws regarding what is and isn’t considered ‘following the religion’?

      • Yankel October 29, 2010, 1:52 AM

        You need to do some more research.

        “Hashem and Torah haven’t been for everyone since the Enlightenment,”

        If Judaism is a religion based on what us people think, then you might have a point. But it isn’t, and G-d never asked us for our opinion. He told us firmly and clearly (and lovingly), what we should be doing, when, where, and how.

        As far as I know, there is no verse which states: “And this commandment which I have instructed you shall be for you for all generations – until the enlightenment. Then you can decide and damand whatever the hell you want. Judaism was never meant to go past 1750 anway. PARTY!! YEAH!!”

  • Dr. Shrink October 27, 2010, 10:30 AM

    Good post. Excellent points made. I laugh every time I hear another nutball excite the community and find blame in kids going off the derech because of Ipods (yes…IPods and smartphones were blamed for kids going off the derech last week-WTF?) I highly doubt Steve Jobs is the reason. How about the fact that the yeshiva system is just too rigid for everyone to fit! It is a system that basically forces you to either be the next rosh yeshiva and masmid-and if not, what can you excell at? Every person needs some area to excell in life to have a healthy ego development and feel accomplished. It is part of building self-esteem. The system works for some-but it just doesn’t incorperate all, effectively. It is time for these rabbis to stop the absurdity of blaming technology and secular coulture for the mess their system created. Figure out ways to start putting value on excelling in areas such as middos, academics, etc. so that if a bachur isn’t cut out to learn ALL day, he can feel proud that he is able to be a good scientist, or do chesed in the community-and not a screw up because he couldn’t learn learn tosafos well. They made the F-ed up system-let ’em fix it.

    • Heshy Fried October 27, 2010, 1:39 PM

      The interesting thing about the “off the derech” movement is that every generation had kids who went off the derech, half of the folks I meet who my father went to yeshiva with aren’t orthodox, but back then it was more normal it seems to just stop being frum, whereas nowadays they have built up this huge wall, that every time someone stops being frum, it must be because they climbed over that wall – not because the Rebbe yelled at the kid for wearing bobby pins or having white in his sneakers.

    • offderech October 27, 2010, 4:56 PM

      Actually, Steve Jobs comes from an Arabic background, so technically, maybe his goal is to get people of the derech! 🙂

  • Dr. Shrink October 27, 2010, 10:34 AM

    Pardon my typos and misspelling-Without autocorrect on my Iphone I am a mess…and off the derech too, I guess cuz I have one.

  • Philo October 27, 2010, 11:21 AM


    I agree with you 100%. Being an observant Jew is a beautiful thing, but it’s not for everyone. I wrote a related post recently (http://evolvingjew.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/kiruv-a-noble-goal-or-sticking-noses-in-others%e2%80%99-business/) about when kiruv is appropriate and when it’s not (mainly when it’ll mess up someones happiness.)

  • Usydgirl October 27, 2010, 11:38 AM

    All these peoples have contributed something invaluable to my insecurities: I’m honestly scared of swerving off the derech before I’m even firmly planted :-/

    • Heshy Fried October 27, 2010, 1:40 PM

      The fact that you show your picture online means you’ve already swerved off and there’s no hope for you

      • Usydgirl October 27, 2010, 3:59 PM

        Damn. You mean I could have worn a trashy skirt… Or even pants! to help with my interview today!?

  • Sara October 27, 2010, 12:02 PM

    It’s ridiculous, I agree. Where is the accountability?? You create a society that is so rigid that people are scared to breath because it might look like they might have been thinking about maybe doing something that some rabbi once said was against the Torah (oh my!). And on top of that all the other issues that get pushed under the rug just so as not to bring a bad name to the community and Jews. How about you deal with the issues (stop putting pervert Rabbis in charge of classrooms of children, etc.) and when someone reports something, DO SOMETHING! … And you’re surprised when kids go off the “derech”???
    Thank you, good piece!
    (P.S. The “you” is the universal “you” — wasn’t intended to be targeted or taken personally. Just spewing my thoughts.)

    • Usydgirl October 27, 2010, 4:04 PM

      Like (alot)

    • A. Nuran October 27, 2010, 5:49 PM

      Accountability detracts from authority.
      The whole point of the exercise is loyalty and submission to authority.

    • kissmeimshomer October 28, 2010, 11:09 AM

      score for mentioning the rabbis! i was in williamsburg today, on an errand for my company. I saw this dude, chassidic guy driving a van with a mexican worker next to himn. The chasidic guy honestly looked like he wanted to murder anyone who was not bearded, with long curly peyos. I will never understand society they live in…even though i went to high school with them…

  • otd bec October 27, 2010, 12:03 PM

    excellent post.
    nothing in this world is good for everything, including odox judaism, including hashem, including a whole host of other things like day-old cholent and three-day yuntifs.
    having gone from bt to otd and am back to embracing life in a way that works for me, i can say that it’s wonderful to not feel like i’m being scrutinized for every single thought and action that is different from the community at large. i no longer have to worry that my writing and creativity will screw the community bc i go against the grain. and i’ve finally stopped receiving phone calls from my rabbi and other community members who felt threatened every time i was published. long story.
    your blog is one of the few i still read. you are totally spot-on and your liberal attitude is how the odox community SHOULD be. there might not be as many people leaving the fold if people could just be “normal.”

    • Yankel October 31, 2010, 12:59 PM

      “nothing in this world is good for everything, including odox judaism, including hashem”

      You do realize this is self contradictory.

      If there’s anything at all to Torah Judaism, for anyone, that means by definition there’s a G-d who doesn’t give you the liberty to reject his instructions for how to live your life.

      If G-d created the world and tells us what it’s all about, then we cannot logically consider any other points of view which originate from within creation as legitimate.

      I realize that some of the demands that Judaism makes on people can at times be overwhelming. But I don’t believe there’s ever a situation which G-d puts one in which the individual can’t handle.

      If it meant saving the life of your child, is there anything you wouldn’t do?

      So it’s not a matter of negativity, or worry, or fear of scrutinization. It’s about the inherent value of observing Judaism. If it’s value is there – it’s well worth it. If not – nothing’s worth it.

      The negativity you experience should not be the deciding factor to your observance.

      If the community really bothered you, why not just leave the community and remain observant on your own?

  • rj October 27, 2010, 12:38 PM

    to say That Torah Judaism isn’t for everyone is to put it in the realm of the non divine, man made. Yes this is heretical and absurd to anyone who is a true believer. I would agree that there is not one path of Orthodox Judaism be it yeshvish or any of the other ishes. There are of course many ways to serve Hashem and still observe his laws. I am a long term BT , spent many years on various paths of OJ and have finally found what works for me. Perhaps your depressed friend was lacking basic bitachon which of course would make a secular lifestyle very appealing.

    • Ell October 27, 2010, 1:16 PM

      Good comment. I agree.

      And good post Heshy. articles like these make ME want to leave yiddishkeit, or at least the rigidity they are promoting, and run with my children to a less close-minded and judgmental place.

      • Heshy Fried October 27, 2010, 1:48 PM

        If you’re not happy in your community you should leave immediately, sure you have a job and mouths to feed – but God provides, especially if the community is driving you mad. I would rather be poor and derelict than mad and depressed.

        • Ell October 27, 2010, 8:01 PM

          I don’t hate my current community but I do hate some communities that are very close by. In any case, its much harder after you are married with kids to change hashkafah or things about your life, especially if your spouse isn’t so interested in doing so.

    • A. Nuran October 27, 2010, 2:39 PM

      But it IS man-made. Outside of the raw Pentateuch every single bit of it is the product of human minds, human desires, human politicking and other imperfect human things. Oh, the Scribes decreed that Scribes speak for God and we should believe Scribes even when the Scribes’ words contradict those of God. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Scribes and their words are human, not Divine.

      • rj October 27, 2010, 4:13 PM

        A. Nuran:

        If you don’t believe in the oral law then you are not an Orthodox Jew. That is conservative or reform or any of the other deviant forms of Judaism. There’s a lot to say on this but I would suggest reading One People: Two Worlds


        • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 2:49 PM

          The Written Law has a pretty clear “chain of custody” and seems to be the same in Torahs from all over the world. Even granting that the original Mishnah is just as consistent, everything except the Law as written is human interpretation governed by culture, context, personality, history, prejudice, indigestion, personal quirks, charisma and you name it.

          The Scribes may well have been very wise men. I’m willing to grant “They spent a lot of time studying this. Their legal opinions are to be respected.” But They Are Not God. To say that they speak for God, that their words are on a level with God’s and that they must be believed as if they were God is blasphemy of the worst sort.

          • Anonymous October 28, 2010, 6:34 PM

            Where do they claim they are G-d? the oral law is from G-d!

      • Yankel October 29, 2010, 3:01 AM

        Hold on Nuran,
        I think there is a technical misunderstanding here.

        You recognize the 5 books of Moses as being of Divine origin. Even though G-d spoke through Moses.

        Why! Moses was human?
        Simple logic. If the words are from G-d, who cares how it got to us.

        It says in the Torah itself – detailed laws about how to recognize a prophet, and the validity of his words.

        (I’m not sure what your views are on Torah Sh’Ba’all Peh in general, like whether or not G-d actually gave us anything other than the written Torah.)

        Likewise, there are laws in the Torah regarding the Sanhedrin and how they are to decide an issue, or make decrees, either to protect the actual laws of the Torah (Yichud, washing hands before eating, no shofar on shabbos), or out of independent necessity (chanukah, purim, lulav for 7 days even outside of Israel).

        If the Pentateuch is divine, then as unbelievable as it might seem, there were humans who’s words and decisions carried divine weight. This is not to say they or their words are equal to G-d, it simply means that for:
        Prophets – He speaks messages to them, ideas, concepts, images, visions, sometimes conversations, which (if intended as a message to the public) they in turn express in their own language and style of speech to the people. Never any new laws or additions to old ones. Only admonitions and calls to repentance.

        Chazal – G-d created a great body of knowledge, which if studied correctly, will lead one to a way of thinking in a manner which will result in concluding with G-d’s intention on the matter.
        This body of knowledge is the Torah. Today nobody can study it sufficeintly enough to reach the levels Chazal were on, but that’s not our purpose in this generation.

        So yes. They are human. But it’s not “them” who we’re obeying. It’s the G-dly knowledge they recieved and are relaying to us, which we’re adhering to.

        Don’t you believe G-d is capable of creating such a system?
        If so, why should we assume he didn’t when we have evidence which shows otherwise?

  • LubabNoMore October 27, 2010, 1:19 PM


    I read the Mishpacha article (PDF) and was actually pleasantly surprised to see an unusually frank self-reflection on some of the ways the yeshivish world could improve itself.

    The article is far from perfect (unsourced data on “at risk kid” trends, hearsay, etc.). And I think the article wrongly focuses on porn as a cause of kids going OTD. (Honestly, I don’t understand the logic. “Boobies! = There is no god.” ?!?) And the conclusion that Tehillim is the “ultimate” way to fight kids going OTD is naive.

    All that said, I DO think that the internet provides kids access to ideas that undermine “true Torah” values and ideas. Personally, I think that is a good thing. But that’s not to say that Mishpacha is wrong in making the accusation.

    The reality is the Yeshivish world (and this article) are advocating to stop the flow of information. This is a losing battle. What they should do (and which Chabad attempts with varying degrees of success) is to teach their children how to deal with all the information/gashmius that is out there. They need to provide answers/responses to what their kids are going to find. But, that’s not going to happen.

    While “Torah true” Jews recite tehillim their kids will continue to surf the web in the next room. Here’s hoping for a reformation of the yeshiva world in the next generation.

    Mishpacha article (PDF)

    • Heshy Fried October 27, 2010, 1:50 PM

      Now imagine if the yeshivish community just opened up the internet floodgates and actually used it for what it was meant for? It’s fine for BT’s to use it to find out information, but frummies nooooooooooo!

      It should be used like any other tool and taught like it is in every other community. It’s not like TV, you cannot block it out and in 20 years the community is going to be kicking itself for this damaging trend.

      • Ell October 27, 2010, 8:05 PM

        i so agree. Imagine how much more successful organazations like Agudath Israel of America would be if they just for gods sake got with the program and put up a website?! The Internet is here to stay and people are becoming more and more dependant on it. In 5-10 years there won’t BE an option to just ‘not have the Internet’ if you want to have anything at all to do with the outside world.

        i agree its scary but blocking it out is so not the answer. I dont know what is but get your heads out of the sand and figure something out!

    • A. Nuran October 27, 2010, 5:48 PM

      Porn is the least of it.

      During the halcyon days of the ghetto and the shtetl plenty of Jews abandoned the strict levels of observance we take for granted now. Porn wasn’t a big part of people’s lives. There was no Internet, no telephones, for the most part no information technology more complicated than the Post Office.

      • Heshy Fried October 28, 2010, 11:01 AM

        It’s funny how the tayvos of the ghetto were literature and philosophy

        • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 2:52 PM

          Filthy pictures carbonate people’s hormones. Profane music leads to dancing. Neither of them is a direct challenge to belief.

          Cogent argument, compelling logic and the ability to see things through someone else’s eyes are much more dangerous.

    • Meir October 27, 2010, 8:20 PM

      I would argue pornography couldn’t exist without God. I mean, what would the actors moan if they couldn’t go with “Oh God!”

  • yoni October 27, 2010, 1:57 PM

    right. So i know that all jews are supposedly responsible for each other. But in my life i try to worry about my own observance and my own religious devotion. I tried being the guy who scolded his friends for not being frum, it did not work out well. I have since learned my lesson. People need to lead by example.
    There is no such thing as off the derech, there is just stops on the derech. Some people like to take side trips. Some people dont like the scenery so they switch it up for a bit. Its not a bad thing. Let people find their own way….

    • Yochanan October 27, 2010, 7:21 PM

      ‘Etz Chayim Hi” mentions Derekh in the plural “Drakheyha Darkhey No’am” Its paths are paths of pleasantness. Why is a teenager who wears jeans off THE derekh?

      • Yankel October 29, 2010, 9:04 AM

        My naive friend, why do you think he is finding it desireable to wear the cloths that the non-Jews wear as opposed to the common dress of the Orthodox community?
        He’s not OTD. But it definitely says something very loud about what’s going on in his thoughts & desires.

        • Yochanan October 30, 2010, 9:45 PM

          Why is dressing like a Goy from Poland 200 years ago better than dressing like one now?

          Besides think of the brand of jeans he’s probably wearing: Levi’s as in Levi Strauss.

          • Yankel October 31, 2010, 12:07 AM

            C’mon, don’t get all technical with me here, use your brain!
            Today in 2010 there’s a way Jews dress and a way non-Jews dress, and this kid is choosing to dress like the non-Jew.

            Do you honestly think he’s doing it because of the above reasoning, that goyim dressed like todays Jews 200 years ago, so who cares?
            Or because a Jew designed the Jeans?

            He’s doing it because he’s emulating them and their culture, and I think you realize very well that it doesn’t start or end with cloths.

  • Elad October 27, 2010, 2:04 PM

    If you notice, most people commenting on the post said just about everything you said. I think most people in the frum world would agree with you, at least judging by the comments.

    • Heshy Fried October 27, 2010, 2:21 PM

      People who comment on this blog do not represent most of the frum world, readers maybe, but commenters definitely not. The real frummies, the one’s who think internet should be assur for children, because adults have a much smaller yetzer harah – the one’s who comment on Vos Iz Neias and Hashkafa.com are way different.

      • Elad October 27, 2010, 2:39 PM

        I meant on the blog itself. It seems almost unanimous actually.

      • Ell October 27, 2010, 8:07 PM

        wth? Hashkafah.com? Do you even GO to the site? people are plenty open-minded and saying just the same thing! Maybe you are confusing it with imamother.com or something.

  • G*3 October 27, 2010, 2:20 PM

    > (Honestly, I don’t understand the logic. “Boobies! = There is no god.” ?!?)

    1. Looking at boobies is an aveira
    2. Committing averios makes people feel guilty / frightened of punishment.
    3. To alleviate the guilt / fear one must either do teshuva or convince himself that it’s not an aveira.
    3a. If there is no god / Judaism is false, looking at boobies is not an aveira.
    C. Some people who look at boobies online will go OTD.

    Combine that with the following:
    1. Judaism is true.
    1a. There are no good questions on Judaism.
    2. If someone has questions, it must be because he’s looking for excuses to dismiss Judaism. (“They’re not questions, they’re answers.”)
    3. People who commit averios look to delegitimize Judaism (as seen above).
    C. If someone has questions on Judaism, it’s because he was looking at boobies on the internet!

    (The first syllogism is valid, and probably true. The second one is not.)

    > All that said, I DO think that the internet provides kids access to ideas that undermine “true Torah” values and ideas.

    I wrote a post a few months ago on the theme of banning things in the name of avoiding licentiousness that a really a danger to frumkeit because they’re a source of outside information.

    • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 3:06 PM

      G*3, the syllogism is valid, but not quite complete.

      a) You can alleviate the guilt by pretending to greater piety (to yourself as much as anyone else) than you actually have.

      b) You can alleviate the guilt by forcing others to be more observant. You may not be perfect, but you are the cause of improvement in others.

      You can be motivated more by shame than by guilt. As long as you keep up appearances you can have the biggest stash of smut in the Western Hemisphere and still be happy. a) and b) still hold.

  • jimmy October 27, 2010, 2:25 PM

    Been there, done that. As an FFB, I was never happy with the shalts and shalt nots. Tried to fake it, it worked for a while. Went to yeshivah because my parents wanted me to, never did well. Couldn’t stand the hypocrisy of bein odom lemokom vs. bein odom lechaveiro that I saw in the community. I always thought that Yiddishkeit was not about keeping yourself completely insular and avoiding the outside world. Like the days of old, when the ghetto walls broke down, Yidden found opportunity outside of the community and no longer needed to fake it. I dropped it all because I didn’t believe in what I was brought up in.

    • Yankel October 31, 2010, 1:31 PM

      Did you ever give it a real chance?
      Just faking the rituals will be meaningless to anyone in any religion.

      Did you ever pick up an Aryeh Kaplan book?

      Did you ever consider that perhaps the community you lived in did not properly represent what a Jewish ‘kehila’ was supposed to be?

      I recognize that you ultimately didn’t believe in it. But did you ever wonder why that might have been, instead of just assuming it’s because there’s really nothing there?

  • Anonymous October 27, 2010, 3:03 PM

    religion sucks

    • Heshy Fried October 28, 2010, 11:02 AM

      For some and for others it works, everyone gets pleasure from different things

    • Yankel October 29, 2010, 9:09 AM

      If you can’t (or are not willing to) understand it – say it sucks.
      It might not be true, but it’ll make ya feel better.

  • Anonymous October 27, 2010, 3:23 PM

    Sooner or later you may have to change the name of your blog to:
    “Satire for the formerly frum”.

    • A. Nuran October 27, 2010, 5:53 PM

      No. Not at all.
      A lot of Heshy’s readers are OTD or NWOTD. Heshy himself shows every sign of being a believing, observant Jew. He doesn’t wear a black coat, black hat and white shirt. He likes the outdoors. He has had girlfriends. But you can tell his religion is very important to him, and his practice certainly seems serious and heartfelt.

  • Anonymous October 27, 2010, 3:40 PM

    Isn’t it amazing how many really religious and really non-religious people comment on this blog? That’s fucking incredible. This blog must have the most interesting range of readers of any Jewish blog.

  • Anonymous October 27, 2010, 4:04 PM

    by you writing about it. it also gets people talking and reading your posts

  • rj October 27, 2010, 4:18 PM

    What I’ve noticed from this article and most of the comments here, there’s a tremendous amount of conjecture, little to no evidential data, and lots of emotional charges based on subjective perceptions.

  • Anonymous October 27, 2010, 4:35 PM

    You use the “closed minded” excuse for going OTD, the same way the charedim use “secular society” excuse.
    I would venture to guess that every OTD person has a different reason (or excuse, depending on how you want to view it).
    That being said saying that “Torah isnt for everyone” is heresy, like you said. R’ Akiva likened the keeping of the Torah as water is to fish, so how can you blame a believer for not agreeing with that statement, even if it makes a person depressed? having a job isn’t for me, but i do it because i have to. so too the Torah”.
    Also, why is “happiness” the ultimate goal in life? Sure its nice to be happy but that doesn’t mean that you should give up your values because it makes you happy. You should do whats right, not what makes you happy.

    • Anonymous October 27, 2010, 6:51 PM

      That’s a foolish comparison.

      You work a job, because without one, you would be homeless and the quality of your life we be greatly diminished.

      There are plenty of people who leave their religions and not only do they not feel homeless, on the contrary, they finally feel at home.

      • Anonymous October 27, 2010, 8:27 PM

        But that’s the point. if you believe then you keep the Torah because without it you would be void of a spiritual home, and all the good it has to offer both in this world and the world to come. Yes sometimes it’s hard to see good in this world, but the ultimate reward is in the world to come. So you do what you got to do. Whether it makes you happy or not.

        • Anonymous October 28, 2010, 10:10 AM

          Obviously people who leave don’t believe what you believe in.

          If you want to live your life for some supposed afterlife, don’t let me stop you. I, for one, will not sacrifice what brings me enjoyment and fulfillment in the name of your fantasies.

          • Anonymous October 28, 2010, 11:49 AM

            My point was that you cant tell a believer “Torah isn’t for everyone”, and “otd makes me happy”, because of the reasons i said.

            • Dovybear October 28, 2010, 5:23 PM

              Wow, Anonymous, not only do you talk to yourself, but you argue with yourself too…

    • Yochanan October 27, 2010, 7:26 PM

      Playing along with Rabbi ‘Akiva’s metaphor, some of us are fresh water fish and others salt water.

      • Anonymous October 27, 2010, 8:27 PM

        but we all need water. So “water” is for everyone.

        • LubabNoMore October 27, 2010, 10:22 PM


          Right. Some fish need saltwater (Orthodox Judiasm) and other fish need freshwater (Reform Judiasm). They’re both water but different fish need different versions.

          • Anonymous October 28, 2010, 11:52 AM

            its a comment on the “torah isn’t for everyone” argument. Water is Torah. The common theme here is water. Im not saying that all water is the same, just that everyone needs water. It’s not that complicated.

          • Yankel October 29, 2010, 3:22 AM

            R’ Akiva never compared Judaism to water. It was Torah.
            The parable was to something which could never be changed.

            A general concept like “Judaism” is much easier to play around with and justify not adhering to. You can always say “G-d didn’t mean that in my situation, so my acting this way constitutes following Judaism”.

            Torah on the other hand, means one and only one thing.
            It’s unchangeable.
            We recieved it, and it’s here today as it always was. In it, G-d says it’s for eternity. “For all generations”.
            Observance means doing what it says. No negotiating or rationalizing. Any “new torah” by definition is not Torah. Demonstrated very nicely by the the “New testament”).
            The only way around it is to deny it completely.
            Which is essentially what reform believes.

            To say reform is ok – even for some, by definition means the Torah was never given, and all of Judaism is a myth.

  • just one of the many October 27, 2010, 5:32 PM

    if anyone ever heard of Rabbi Saperstein from Monsey – all his speeches are about finding happiness
    he basically sais that if you are happy as a jewish parent, your children will be happy as well. stop dwelling on our faults and realise how hard it is to be a frum jew these days and be PROUD of yourselves
    as for doing what works for you? that is a total falisy
    G-d created man and told them what to do to be happy – have a purpose and and be a good Jew.
    happiness is a goal for everyone and its a goal most nonjews dont achieve, ie all the hollywood depressed celebrity lifestyle.
    being happy means being satisfies with the person you are.
    and as far as bein adom lchavero – tes there is a lack but the goyim have less of it! NYC is known for rude new yorkers – its not a jewish thing. we expect more from jews but we should really expect more from ourselves!
    stop looking around you and start looking inside yourself
    find a way to live thats torah and that makes you a good happy person!

    • G*3 October 27, 2010, 8:21 PM

      > happiness is a goal for everyone and its a goal most nonjews dont achieve, ie all the hollywood depressed celebrity lifestyle.

      The frum world really needs to stop pointing to celebrities as if they’re respresentitive of the general public.

      • Heshy Fried October 28, 2010, 12:44 PM

        Agreed, it’s so childish and stupid, normal people are not celebrities and you know what else I hate? When frum Jews say that non-Jews don’t want to lead “good” lives like they are doing. WTF is up with that?Jews aren’t better than non-Jews because they get to put on tefillin in the morning.

        • offthedwannab October 29, 2010, 5:25 AM

          When you treat it like there’s a war going on to keep kids frum (instead of acknowledging that most kids who are unhappy have a messed up family life, mostly because of bad parents*) and you can’t find out who the enemy is, everything becomes the enemy. Inevitably, as in any war, truth is the first casualty.

          *This isn’t my theory. Dr Sorotzkin has experience and real data to back this up (drsorotzkin.com)

        • just one of the many October 29, 2010, 1:17 PM

          ummm hello
          thats what everyone WANTS to be
          they are a symbol of success in the non-Jewish world
          ask anyone out there who they want to be and i garuntee you 90% of them will name a celebrity
          we think once we achieve more money, more success, more fame… we’ll be happy and its not true
          ppl need structure and guidance
          thats why the youth of today are attracted to gangs and social groups – everyone wants to belong to something that has a sort of structure – and yiddishkeit has that already built in.
          G-d knows what Hes doing and its time to SHUT UP, GROW A PARE AND STOP BLAMING EVERYTHING ON EVERYTHING ELSE!!!!!!!
          I dont see you coming up with a kosher alternative and a solution
          just the usual nonconstructive bashing….
          too easy!

          • Hannahbanana October 29, 2010, 2:20 PM

            If “the youth of today are attracted to gangs and social groups” (HOLY SHIT!! SOCIAL GROUPS, YOU SAY?!?!) because they desire “something that has a sort of structure,” but “yiddishkeit has that already built in,” then why aren’t kids flocking, in droves, to the frum community? Why are so many moving away?

            Now, I’ll grant you, I know lots of folks who have become *more* observant, and I applaud that, if that’s what they want. But you’ve got to take a step back and say, “if yiddishkeit DOES have all of these wonderful, super nifty aspects, then why are poeple leaving?”

            I think Heshy is right; Chabad makes Judaism seem warm and inviting to a lot of people. Being told you’re not good enough to go to some fakakta school because your cell phone isn’t “kosher” makes a lot of people think that maybe there’s a little TOO much structure there.

            Honestly, and most people don’t want to hear this: it’s about marketing.

        • Yochanan October 31, 2010, 12:00 PM

          Isn’t there a lot of kabbalistic mumbo jumbo about non-Jews being descended from demons or something?

          • Yankel October 31, 2010, 2:47 PM

            It does speak about the different aspects of Adam Ha’Rishon, and the roes they all played in the sin. Some pushing him to do it and some begging him not to.

            Naturally, they ascribe the non-Jews to be spiritual descendants of the “do it” aspects.

            The only thing I can think of which matches the what you’re describing, is perhaps Amalek being the manifestation of opposition to G-d and the desire to remove all acknowledgement of him from creation.

            Which is the essence of the Satan.

  • Boruch October 27, 2010, 7:37 PM

    great article I am posting this to my facebook.

  • ari October 27, 2010, 7:59 PM

    people can do what they want, but is the fact that they are not happy, or its “or its not for them” a good reason just to ditch judaism? obviously being happy is important but were does it say that it takes preference over keeping the torah?

    • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 6:29 AM

      Convincing people that they want to be ignorant and miserable is a pretty hard sell at the best of times. When there are viable alternatives it’s just about impossible.

      How ‘ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
      After they’ve seen Paree?
      How ‘ya gonna keep them away from Broadway,
      Jazzin’ around,
      And paintin’ the town?Photo of Noble Sissle
      How ‘ya gonna keep ’em away from harm?
      That’s the mystery!
      They’ll never want to see a rake or plow,
      And who the deuce can parlez-vous a cow?
      How ‘ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
      After they’ve seen Paree?

      • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 6:30 AM

        blargh. The “photo of Noble Sissle” wasn’t supposed to be there.

  • rationalist frummie October 27, 2010, 8:37 PM

    well if you are not happy observing the torah and being Jewish, than whats the point of doing it? It doesnt say anywhere that it takes preference over torah but in our modern world, people make choices based on how they are feeling emotionally and if the being frum does not meet the emotional needs of say, a homosexual than I think that they have the right to reject those halachot or Torah beliefs that run contrary to them

    • rj October 28, 2010, 12:12 PM

      “if the being frum does not meet the emotional needs of say, a homosexual than I think that they have the right to reject those halachot or Torah beliefs that run contrary to them”

      Whose deciding they have the right? You? It’s all about what makes you feel good eh? I have some news for you. There is a moral authority and its not you. It’s called the Torah.

    • rj October 28, 2010, 1:34 PM

      and if the being frum does not meet the emotional needs of say, a homosexual than I think that they have the right to reject those halachot or Torah beliefs that run contrary to them

      Who says? You? Are you the moral authority? It’s all about what makes u feel good?

    • rj October 28, 2010, 4:48 PM

      WHy do u call yourself rationalist frummie? You don’t sound frum in any way. What you assert is reform Judaism.

  • Anonymous October 28, 2010, 5:38 AM

    sometimes kids don’t just wander off they’re kicked off. if you do 1 thing wrong you’re not welcome on the path. you’re not accepted by the community they make you unhappy so why stay?? they need to make the path wider if they want people to follow it.

    this is not my problem, I’m well off! I ran as far as I can. 🙂

    • Heshy Fried October 28, 2010, 12:45 PM

      Indeed and that’s why I wonder about parents who refuse to send their kids to a modern orthodox yeshiva that offers the services their child needs – better he end up in Priority one than being in class with girls.

    • Yankel October 30, 2010, 1:20 PM

      This is an extremely difficult dillema many educators find themselves in.

      Say there is a youngster who is involved in activities which are potentially very dangerous to the observance of those closely affiliated with him.
      For example, smoking pot, more serious drugs, or hooking up with girls. (yes I know many of you think it’s ok to mac it up, but the Torah forbids it)

      On one hand, he’s obviously in a vulnerable state as it is, and his Judaism is sort of on the brink.
      At this point, rejection will almost inevitably mean he drops the whole thing, and will carry extremely negative feelings towards the religious community for the rest of his life, (unless he goes on a spiritual trip or experiences some kind of tragedy which causes him to reconsider).

      On the other hand, every day which he is left to associate with other boys his age, (many of whom would dabble in these activities if given the right opportunity and connection), presents a serious danger to them, and therefore a very valid consideration to disregard his own religious state.

      It’s not an easy descision to make, and either way is being cruel to someone.

      I went through the rejection and lived to tell about it.

      I still carry some negativity towards the establishment and those running it, but they don’t represent G-d or Judaism.

      If it really bothers you, and you’re that turned off by it, don’t run. Instead stay and make a difference.
      Only you know what these kids are going through. Only you can help them.
      Not naive Rabbis who’s total experience of negativity was the time he found a playboy in his friend’s bathroom.

      You can make their lives go from one of rejection, self doubt, resentment, emptyness, and distance from loved ones, to one filled with goals, growth, love and meaning.

      Why would you run from this?

  • Anon October 28, 2010, 9:28 AM

    Before you leave, try to make lots of money. This way you will be independent and not have to come on to frum people to help you out. You can’t go to non-frum and “goyishe” weddings to collect. You can’t and won’t be able to get a G’mach. These are all unacceptable in those circles. You will get lots of Rachmunis when you leave completely. But they won’t give you a dime. So be prepared. By the way, You will need lots of money for therapy.

    • Yankel October 30, 2010, 1:22 PM

      I feel for you. It must have been terrible.
      Doesn’t footsteps help out with getting people on their feet?

  • Pharoh October 28, 2010, 10:07 AM

    The Torah was not given us to make us happy. You can either be a slave to Egypt or a slave to Hashem. This is the true reality and every Jew knows it. Man was put on this earth to work by the sweat of his brow. Happiness is always temporary if achieved at all. One day you are happy and satisfied and have inner peace and then you get fired or you get knocked over by a car or your wife is diagnosed with cancer religous or secular…what happened? Welcome to planet earth. Observe Torah and Mitsvot because this is all of Man. Who is going to argue with Shlomo Hamelech?

    • Anonymous October 28, 2010, 10:12 AM

      Boy are you cynical. What a depressing life you must lead.

    • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 10:17 AM

      I prefer freedom to slavery. Maybe this is a sign of spiritual poverty. But somehow I don’t think so. Life is full of sorrow and trials. It is also full of joy.

    • otd bec October 28, 2010, 10:20 AM

      ahh, just what we all want. a sadomasochist for a god.

      • Hannahbanana October 28, 2010, 1:12 PM

        Hey, clearly “Pharoh” is in to that sort of thing. Does the Frum world approve of BDSM? We should find out for him/her.

        • A. Nuran October 28, 2010, 3:08 PM

          I don’t have the cites anymore. It was years ago. But I remember a couple broadly based studies which indicated that socially and religiously conservative people were more likely than average to enjoy those sorts of activities.

          • Hannahbanana October 28, 2010, 4:39 PM

            That’s a stereotype. Most of them end up being the folks who go to Renn Faire, or play MMORPG. I’m sure some are religious folks, but they’re the exception that proves the rule.

    • Yankel October 29, 2010, 2:23 AM

      I don’t think Pharoh here is saying anything you guys totally don’t agree with. He’s just putting it into words which bother you.

      “Slave to Egypt” means that your descision making and actual will are dependent on your bodily and materialistic desires. You can’t see what is really good for you and the correct thing to do (they are synonymous) because your will is bound to false and meaningless “gratification” and/or “freedom”.

      “Slave to G-d” means all you WANT to do is comply with his will. Not because he’s standing over you with a whip, but out of your realization of who this magnificient being called “G-d ” is, and his infinite love for you which he expressed in his Torah.

      • HannahBanana October 29, 2010, 6:35 AM

        Ummm, no. My issue is this: You cannot call yourself a “slave” and view G-D as a “slave master” and throw love into the mix. Slavery is not about love, but forced obedience. If you WANT to follow Torah, then you do so, but to call yourself a slave means you have no ability to do otherwise, in which case it has nothing to do with love, or free will of any sort. I’m not a slave to “Egypt” or to G-D. It’s not a binary situation for me. I imagine it’s not for most people.

        Being a “slave to G-D” sounds too much like Islam for me to be comfortable saying it has any place in Judaism.

  • kissmeimshomer October 28, 2010, 11:42 AM

    I read the article in the Mishpacha on Sunday. Was going to sit down for a few hours and type out a post, but was too busy. Seeing yet another stupid article by rabbis who think they know everything, yet clearly don’t had me realllly upset. It shouldnt make me upset, but I live in Brooklyn so it does. Gr8 post….if only they’d publish your post as a letter to the editor so the “community” can see the normal point of view.

  • Julie October 29, 2010, 2:58 AM

    Amen! Also, I love the absolute freakouts over Conservative Judaism. You’d think we were Jews for Jesus or some whack sh*t like that, just because we don’t do blind fideism and involve reason into our religion–just like Maimonides! The people who can’t look at TaNaKh from a scholarly approach are the ignoramuses pushing the kids with brains out of their communities.

    • Heshy Fried October 29, 2010, 3:03 AM

      Don’t worry, most frummies don’t even acknowledge you as Jews, therefore they don;t really need to freak out over it.

      Look at Tanach, listen to yourself, every frummy knows that only girls learn the nach part of tanach.

    • Dovybear October 29, 2010, 7:05 AM

      Yes, because as everyone knows, there’s not a single frummie out there who involves reason in their religion and that if Maimonides was alive now he’d be conservative. I think you’ll find that frummies have looked at Tanach from a “scholarly approach” for a heck of a long time. Oh, I’m sorry, they couldn’t have done because that was before Wellhausen and we all know that it is only the academic scholastic approach that counts. I’m a guy with brains, so are all my friends, and none of us has been pushed out so of course, every kid that goes off must be more intelligent than us then. Why cling onto this myth that frummies hate questions as being a challenge to their faith (I hate that word…)? Sure, there are quite a few teachers out there who are honestly scared by questions (mostly because they themselves are unsure of their own beliefs), but I had a number of science teachers who refused to answer questions and just told me “it is what it is and that’s the end”. It’s just what humans are like, get over it, it has nothing to do with which religious creed to ally yourself to or even to a lack thereof, it’s simply human nature. Your attitude is just as closed-minded as that which you ascribe to frummies.

  • Pharoh October 29, 2010, 3:20 AM

    Non Religous friends of Baaley Teshuva always say the same thing….”As long as he is happy”. I am not frum because it makes me happy, im frum because its the truth. Its like saying of someone who smokes…”As long as hes happy”. Yes its true that smoking makes someone who is addicted to nicotine happy, but this person is undeniably better off being a non smoker. We live in a world where the right thing is hard to do. A kohen who has fallen deeply in love with a ger cannot marry her. Would the Kohen be far happier non-religous…YES! Would he be fulfilling the word of his creator no. Doing something, or living a certain way because it makes you feel emotionally fulfilled is the mentality of a child. The greatest people in history (jew and gentile alike) are people that suffered for something greater than themselves, whether it was their country, humankind or even God.

  • Nehama October 31, 2010, 1:10 AM

    I was debating whether it was worth commenting on this because you seem pretty set in your beliefs, but I decided to anyway. I’m a “frummy” as you call it. Maybe I’m not by the standards you might stereotypically categorize a frummy to be, but I am and I am quite proud of it. I just don’t understand why being frum isn’t cool in the world we live in. I don’t understand why covering my elbows is not something admirable.
    I believe Judaism is for everyone (who’s Jerwish that is, and any non-Jew who’s willing to accept Judaism upon themself). I believe everyone can be “frum” at their own level. Wherever you are on the “frumkite spectrum”, if that’s the best way you know how to connect with G-d, which is, in truth what we’re all here for, then good for you, as long as you have a growing attitude.
    About your friend who “went off the derech” and is now happy…yeah I have a lot to say about that. First of all, the concept that we’re here on this earth to be happy is faulty to begin with. Aren’t we here to do as much for others as possible thereby emulating Hashem in order to ultimately merit olam haba? Sometimes life isn’t a piece of cake, but running away isn’t going to solve all your problems. Sometimes things need to be changed, I’ll give u that, and maybe you’re right, maybe the extent of his orthodoxy “wasn’t working for him”. Fine. But to give it up all together just seems like a cheap escape to me. My question is is he really happy? Yeah, ok now he gets to go clubbing and eat skittles but does that really make someone happy? And no, I don’t think he should live his life in depression but I do believe that securing a place in olam haba is worth it in its own right. I’m very sorry for your friend, and whether you like it or not I am going to pray for him.
    I’m sorry if any of this upsets you and though I’ve read a lot of what you’ve written in the past, I never really commented and now I feel I should. Shavua tov.
    p.s. About all the ” “..sometimes I get a little carried away…;)

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