On The Derech To Rosh Hashanah

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9 Responses

  1. lacosta says:

    haredi society , maybe more than any other part of the jewish community, has great difficulty in how to deal with the OTD [although non-O don’t seem to do too well when their kids go OTD towards a more torah-true life], especially for the long-term ie those who have made eg a lifetime decision like atheism , joining a non-O branch and all that entails , intermarriage [all lo aleinu]

    may we never face that nisayon. may we be able to deal gently with our friends and relatives if thusly afflicted, so as not to be docheh them bishtei yadayim….

    ktiva v’chatima tova lchol klal yisrael, wherever on teh spectrum….

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    R Horowitz’s response, as always, was superb-but how about this suggested approach-I think that the Baalei HaTosfos in Shabbos write that while Zcus Avos Tamah ( and that we have no right to use the same as a means in our defense)-Bris Avos Lo Tamah ( that all Jews share a covenenal relationship with HaShem). Just welcoming anyone with a proper greating without engaging in a judgmental comment goes a long way in maintaining a relationship and in showing what it means to engaging in behavior that is a Kiddush HaShem.

  3. mb says:

    OK, maybe it’s me, but Orthodox Jews have to be told this?

  4. Raymond says:

    The message here seems to be this, that being that all of us are human, all of us make mistakes, sometimes mistakes that are foolish or terrible or both, but that what is even more important than those mistakes, are what we do with them. If we use them as a convenient excuse to continue such behavior or simply stay where we are, not becoming better people, than those mistakes are indeed something very negative and worthy of shame. But if we deeply regret those mistakes, learning from them to become better people, then those mistakes will not have been committed in vain, and in the long run are a positive thing in that they helped us become wiser, more compassionate people.

    Still, even if all this is true, the fact remains that if our past mistakes involved hurting people, all of our repentance cannot remove the harm that we did to those people. The damage has been done.

  5. Dov S. says:

    Good shul advice. I would hope anyone coming to shul would be made welcome. Where in halacha is there such a thing as “standards of the community” as a requirement for coming to pray?

    With regard to Rabbi Horowitz’s story of the “prominent rabbi” & the OTD fellow from a “very distinguished orthodox family”; it is quite inspiring. Why then the anonymity? How much more valuable is the lesson when verifiable. One is left hoping that the story is as accurate as it is inspiring. Also troubling, that someone “non-religious” has done “terrible things.” We know too well of terrible things committed in all circles of the Jewish community. One trusts that the merciful G-d has compassion for all his children, at whatever level of observance or belief.

  6. Y. Ben-David says:

    I am wondering what all the “terrible things” that OTD fellow from the “distinguished Orthodox family” did. Did he violate Shabbat? Did he eat non Kosher food? Or did he commit armed robbery or grand larceny? Or how about murder? Today, a person can still be considered civilized even if he is not religiously observant. Not everyone who is not Orthodox is a barbarian. It is wrong to relate to the non-Orthodox that way. The way to teshuvah is not the same for all. If one is building upon a base of good middot and a constructive but non-observant lifestyle then adoption or return to mitzvot observance will not require the same amount of wrenching remorse and regret that someone who really fell into a self-destructive lifestyle will entail. A “one-size-fits-all” approach to the non-observant (i.e. “you are all sinners!” can be very counterproductive. It can often be more appropriate to tell the would be penitent that he is a fine person, G-d is happy with what he has made of himself so far and that the way is open to a more fulfilling, more JEWISH life by way of the Torah. I think the average non-observant Jew today fits into this category and this is the best way to relate to him or her.

  7. Y. Ben-David says:

    It is sad that the situation Rabbi Horowitz is attempting to remedy even exists. The very fact that he states that “sometimes the dress of the (outsider) is at odds with the standards of the community” shows that there is a superfluous barrier between many Jews and the larger Jewish people who congregate in synagogues. As far as I know, the only thing that the halacha demands of someone who enters a synagogue is for him or her to be dressed modestly according to the standards of the larger society and that men have a head covering. The fact that many Jewish communities have a “uniform” that they wear that goes far beyond halachic demands is already placing a roadblock in front of the person who is not a part of that community. In fact there are many synagogues that have many very devout and observant members that have no such uniform and this makes new people feel much more comfortable.
    The fact is that in Europe it was common for there to be a “shoemakers synagogue” and a “grain-merchants synagogue” . This social stratification often lead to deep divisions within the Jewish community and played a major role in the embitterment of MOST Jews and their subsequent abandonment of Torah observance. Since the Jews are a PEOPLE and the Torah is our CONSTITUTION, a Jews should be able to feel that he or she is part of every synagogue in the world and should be able to feel comfortable in any of them. Thus, every effort should be made to stop this attitude of looking at a new person in the synagogue and then sizing them up to decide if “he is one of us” or not. If he or she is a Jews, then they are automatically ONE OF US.

  8. Rafael Araujo says:

    Y. Ben-David – From my experience, I believe it is just as dangerous that non-frum Yidden have the Bein Adom L’Chaveiro component down pat, that it is natural to them.

    As for MB, you are obviously coming from a non-Chareidi background. In my world, it is completely understandable that where one’s dress and appearance speak to one’s level of observance and therefore one’s view of Yiddishkeit (ie. positive, or disdainful) the perception of others must be “fixed”. Should we be beyond this? Maybe. I but think your reaction is too reactionary. I think in context these negative reactions are natural, as can be seen in the non-frum and non-Jewish worlds as well.

  9. mb says:

    Rafael Araujo. Correct I do not come from an ultra-orthodox background, although I suspect, in fact I have anecdotal evidence this problem also moves somewhat across the spectrum. In my comment I did say Orthodox Jews.
    But to me it is disgraceful, considering how many statements of Chazal condemn such behaviour.Or are they optional? here’s just 2, amongst many from Avot that we have studied for the past 6 months, that fit this situation perfectly. Shammai in 1:15, regarding greeting people, and Hillel 2:5 warning against judging somebody until you have experienced what he has.

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