Anything about JUDAISM
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JewishAndProud! Posted - 12 April 2009 19:48
I guess you can call me a typical modern-orthodox Jewish girl.
I've tried the whole spiritual growth thing, and I think I took upon too much all at once. It was if I was riding up a mountain with a bike, instead of riding up slowly and with gear on...I just raced up the mountain. It was so fast and so difficult-I just went crashing down!
I've learned that when you're trying to improve yourself-you should do it by baby steps...and one step at a time!
Oh how true that is!
I am kinda taking a break for a while, trying to figure out who I am. I'm focusing at my strengths and learning how to manage weaknesses. So that the next time I begin riding up that mountain, I'll be ready.
My question is: What does that mean-where am I now? Where do I stand spiritually? Is there such a thing as a between stage? (between being being somewhat more extreme)
Is taking a break bad?

The user name says it all...

taon Posted - 06 May 2009 3:48
yes, it;s called trying. as long as you keep trying and striving to be better, then you're in the right spot. breaks can be dangerous, they tend to end in going down.


questions? go here:

Mikewind Dale Posted - 07 May 2009 17:46
Hazak u'barukh; may you go from strength to strength.

In fact, we're all on a continuum, on growing towards G-dliness. And if you're not advancing, you're regressing; there's no standing still in avodat hashem.

A question: you speak of being between modernity and something more extreme. More extreme what? I'll note that if one accepts Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch's definition of "Modern Orthodox", then there is no contradiction between being modern and being Orthodox; becoming more Orthodox does not mean becoming less Orthodox.

Of course, if one accepts a false and anti-Torah definition of "Modern Orthodox", then certainly modernity and Torah-observance contradict. But why would anyone take a false and anti-Torah definition of "Modern Orthodox", when Rav Hirsch's definition, one true and faithful to the Torah, is just as available?

See what Rav Hirsch writes in "Religion Allied to Progress" (the title is the Reform movement's slogan of the time; Rav Hirsch ultimately will flip the slogan, and call for "progress allied to religion", with the latter the ikkar and the former the tofeil):

"The more, indeed, Judaism comprises the whole of man and extends its declared mission to the salvation of the whole of mankind, the less it is possible to confine its outlook to the four cubits of a synagogue and the four walls of a study. The more the Jew is a Jew, the more universalist will his views and aspirations be, the less aloof... will he be from anything that is noble and good, true and upright, in art or science, in culture or education; the more joyfully will he applaud whenever he sees truth and justice and peace and the ennoblement of man prevail and become dominant in human society: the more joyfully will he seize every opportunity to give proof of his mission as a Jew, the task of his Judaism, on new and untrodden ground; the more joyfully will he devote himself to all true progress in civilisation and culture--provided, that is, provided, that is, that he will not only not have to sacrifice his Judaism but will also be able to bring it to more perfect fulfilment. He will ever desire progress, but only in alliance with religion. He will not want to accomplish anything that he cannot accomplish as a Jew. Any step which takes him away from Judaism is not for him... a step forward, is not progress. He exercises this self-control without a pang, for he does not wish to accomplish his own will on earth but labours in the service of God. He knows that wherever the Ark of his God does not march ahead of him he is not accompanied by the pillar of the fire of His light or the pillar of the cloud of His grace."

Mikewind Dale Posted - 07 May 2009 17:46
A clarification: standing still, to figure out where you're going, is NOT mere "standing still".

I said there is no standing hill; you're either going up, or you're going down.

BUT, standing still for the purposes of ascending later is the same as actually ascending. For when one reads a map prior to taking a trip, is not his reading the map (standing still) just as important as the actual trip? One cannot take a trip without first reading the map, and you cannot advance without first standing still to evaluate which direction you ought to go in.

Hazak u'barukh, and tihyi l'brakha lashem.

(Tihyi l'brakhah: see what Rav Hirsch says on "barukh avram l'kel elyon" (Blessed is Avram TOWARDS G-d, not FROM G-d; G-d is blessed BY Avram!): Rav Hirsch says Avraham is a brakha TO G-d, because he accomplishes G-d's will and advances G-d's purposes on earth. Avraham is actually HELPING G-d, so to speak. Similarly, may you become a blessing TO G-d.)

ShiraMetzFan Posted - 29 June 2009 20:33
It's bad to stay in one place-you have to constantly be moving up. You're right, it doesn't have to be BIG steps-it should be small.
Remember: The only way to know exactly who you are is by having a constant connection with HASHEM. He will give you the answers! I love you and good luck!

Matisyohu28 Posted - 12 August 2009 18:07
Mike, I think there's a miscommunication here. No one is discussing Rav Hirsch. What the modern orthodox community today represents is hardly Rav Hirsch. Rav Hirsch's wife covered her hair; he did not learn or praise apikorsus or apikorsim. He had no pictures of atheists on his wall, either.
Rav Hirsch never condoned any of the following indicments of the modern orthodox community which violate open halacha and torah hashkafa:

mixed gatherings, mixed dancing and swimming r"l, classes, immodest dress, abandonment of negiah halachos, relegating them to mere 'chumrah', showing respect for kofrim like hertzl and ben gurion sr'y - having pictures of them up on our walls(fakert, he was against zionism), hiring reform and conservative 'rebbeim' to teach(this is avi weiss' policy), joining hands with these enemies of g-d in rabbinical groups, giving women aliyos in shul(which many rabbis suggest), allowing them to lain at a bas mitzvah(this happened at a modern shul recently), condoning women not covering their hair because some rebbetzin(I am reluctant to mention her husband's name, I am not on the madrega to put down talmidei chachamim, even if they are totally wrong, unless it's absolutely necessary, here it's not) decided she didnt have to follow halacha anymore and walked around without her hair covered, not to mention the teaching of gemora to women, toleration of gay clubs in a so-called yeshiva, appreciating culture 'for its own sake', universal owning of televisions which inevitably lead to violating lo sasuru, the institutionalized learning of, and even appreciation for apikorsus(check out YU's library and courses if you dont believe me), incorporation of foreign ideals such as feminism, evolution, civil rights(the goyishe version - not ours of course, as in, one who believes in their ideals of thomas jefferson as opposed to G-d's. Case in point: when married women go to non-jewish courts in divorce disputes; degradation of those who learn all-day and who are supported by others as if it were inferior, the list can go on and on, but this is just a partial list of things that go on in the community that the above poster is describing - this is what she is saying is wrong, and this is what she is talking about - not Rav Hirsch. Modern orthodoxy today is not Rav Hirsch. It is not the 'rationality' of the rambam that they keep saying it is.

No, it is a massive chillul hashem that has no excuse.

Any movement in judaism has one thing in common: it began as an understanding of what was best for the jewish people, namely, what will fulfill the ratzon hashem and help the jewish people rise to greater spiritual heights. This was what inspired the musar movement, the chassidim, litvishe yeshivos, and any other valid strain of torah thought. Now, according to Rabbi JB soloveitchik, the goal of modern orthodoxy is as follows:we would be enveloped by a new economic order. The lion’s share of Jewry would be centered in the Western world, and society would be based on science, where “the sun and the moon and the eleven stars” will radiate scientific learning and technology; where every scientific discovery will be publicized in the newspapers as the greatest sensation’ where all professions will be linked to higher education . . .it was [therefore] forbidden to rely on a continuation of the status-quo . . . great changes were about to occur in Jewish life for which we would have to be prepared(five addresses, pg 31). “There is secular culture, great and powerful technology creating wonders and changing the foundations of our life . . .this secular culture entails destructive elements, many negative and perverse aspects; it may be a blessing and a curse simultaneously, and thus AS LONG AS ONE CAN LIVE WITHOUT IT SO MUCH THE BETTER FOR THE SPIRIT – [but] finally we will have to relate to it. The confrontation will . . . take place . . . in a new and alien land where the tempo of life is greatly accelerated and fundamental changes occur daily. G-d’s decree: your seed will be strangers in a land not their own “ will be fulfilled sooner or later. In a “land not their own”, I fear, we will not be able to maintain a separation between us and the surroundings. If we will not be prepared for new conditions, the environment will swallow us! Our intellectual forces will completely assimilate. On the other hand, if we think for the future, we can plan for . . . a new economic and social order(ibid, page 28).

This means that the community of modern orthodoxy today, the most religious version of it that follows rav soloveitchik(and not, say avi weiss, normal lamm or emanuel rackman) is the product of a bedieved transformed into lechatchilo standard, which rabbi soloveitchik thought was necessary for america. He did not say this is the ratzon hashem. He did not say interacting with america would help yidden climb to higher madregos. He did not say it will have any direct benefit other than saving jewish souls from assimilation.

Now, in our times, we see this attitude to be in error. Reb Ahron;'s suggestion that this was the same attitude of reform was 100% verified. Things did not work out the way Rav soloveitchik thought they would. Kiruv organizations run by chredim work exceptioanlly well. Thousands of men learn full-time in charedi yeshivos; rabbis are no longer fearful to get up and give mussar to their congregations; people listen to gedolim and not professors; modern orthodox parents are astounded when their son comes home with a black hat, and why is that? Because when one learns without biases, he sees that traditional orthodoxy, that which was predicted to fail, is authentic judaism, which is inherently enduring, and growing, while fringes are growing in the modern orthodox world, which have nothing to do with avodas hashem or any torah hashkafa - people who espouse outwardly non-jewish ideas, such as feminism(there is now an organization of orthodox jewish feminists, mandating that men should say shelo asani eshah softly, that women should be called up to lain at bas mitzvos, and so on), evolution, and more. This is a very sad picture. Hashem promises that if you follow the torah judaism and the jewish people will endure - not by any other means, not by assimilating, not by accepting secular attitudes and ideals, and not by demoralizing people by making benonim into tzadikim. Kiruv workers say that a lot of their success comes from just opening the gemorah - the rest happens by itself.

I became frum in a kiruv yeshiva in the modern orthodox world. I do not know how many times I have heard anyone talk about spiritual growth, actually growing, no, I've heard a lot about 'integration in secular society within the framework of halacha"(while tolerating standards that completely violate halacha), but not much about deveikus, ahavas hashem, yiras hashem, anivus, davening better, ameilus betorah, bitachon, etc.. - I do remember a lot of yelping about how we need to be 'cultured' since g-d forbid the goyim will think we're actually too busy serving hashem to care about their nonsense and romance, nothing comes to mind about the above sincere torah themes; I'm sure someone sometimes talks about these things in their community, but I didn't hear much of it. Maybe it's because talking about being humble is not popular in the secular world. Wait until madonna starts preaching humility, maybe the co-ed schools will start teaching it again. I remember many times when people told me not to be 'fanatical'(i.e., follow halacha), many times when people compared gedolim to the pope and accused them of being egotistical r"l, and many times when someone said that 'people need to do what makes them happy')who cares if it's hashem's will, cv's)

I don't think Rav Hirsch said any of this. Do you?

Mussar teaches you how to live. But learning bava kama is living! - Rav Avigdor Miller ZT'L

leavingandlooking Posted - 26 August 2009 21:30
I think it's in "Selected Essays" where exactly what Rav Hirsch's approach was is explained in detail, as well as his thoughts on other approaches. Essential reading if you want to speak about R' Hirsch on this subject.

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