Monday, January 30, 2006

Making Divisions in Orthodoxy

It seems that there's always some sort of "hock" going on in the frum world. For example, , the major hock over the past year or two has been about the "Metzitzah b'Peh" issue. It is only normal, and is perfectly healthy to discuss issues like this, especially when there are public health concerns. A couple of years ago, it seems to me that the major hock was the Techeiles hock - to wear them, to not wear them, muttar, assur? There's nothing wrong with the hock, I just hate when where you fall in the debate puts you on one side of the picket fence or the other in the frum world. Do you wear techeiles? You do? OK, go over to that side of the fence. No techeiles for you? OK, go to the other side. I don't think the Metzitzah b'Peh issue reached that of the techeiles issue, but it was still a hock.

Aside from the techeiles issue is the black hat issue. As previously stated, it is fine to discuss the issue: is one halachically required to wear a hat when davening, etc? But to make such a division based on what color strings you wear, or the hat you wear or don't wear(long brimmed vs. short brimmed, etc.) is silly. We should be judged based on our deeds and service of Hashem...and that's it.

The techeilis wearing crowd, along with the non-black hat wearing crowd is viewed as more left wing. Therefore, we expect less from them religiously. Is it wrong of me to look down upon a black hatter vs. a srugi wearing guy that I see getting plastered in a bar? No, they are both frum Jews. But the issue has created such a divide in the frum world that none of us are immue to these generalizations.

One topic that I hear more and more about by the month is saying "Baalas haBayis" in bentsching (linked to in previous post). It seems that throughout history, mentioned only "baal habayis" was the norm. But, for whatever reason, today is has become more popular to do so. Personally, I see no reason to change what was the case throughout frum history. But, because of its increased prevalence, women may expect or be offended if this insertion is omitted. Do we change what we do based on peoples' feelings? I think that as a general rule we don't; however, if it is certain that a woman would expect it to be inserted or become offended if not, I think we are forced to add it in. I pray that the "baalas habayis" issue doesn't become one that divides us like techeiles and black hats have done previously.

NOTE: JMIL1199 does, what I see to be, as the ideal. He says "birshus bal habayis u'bichvod baalas habayis", that way we are still admitting to the fact that the woman cannot lead bentsching, but while still mentioning her. Food for thought anyway...


Blogger Jack Davidov said...

Divisions? In Orthodoxy? I've never had a single frum person judge me by the way I dressed, whether or not I had a TV, or what types of schools that I had attended. Frum people aren't like that.

9:39 PM, February 01, 2006

Anonymous Erica said...


11:57 AM, February 02, 2006


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