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Unread 10-08-2002, 11:33 AM   #1
Jude
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Modern Orthodoxy

I came across a very sharp lashon in an (original) English letter of the Rebbe. It's in "Letters from the Rebbe" (white paper cover), vol. 3 p. 40-42. It's a letter in response to someone who wants to study to be a Conservative Rabbi. The Rebbe blasts Conservative and Reform and their "Rabbis", even those who personally are observant.

In one line of the letter the Rebbe says:

"This is also the case with regard to the person to whom you refer in your letter, who obviously does not belong at all in the Conservative movement, nor in the so-called "New" brand of Conservatism, which goes under the name of "Modern Orthodoxy." (bold is mine)

I was taken aback by this line. I don't know why I'm surprised, but I am. I guess, it's because I've considered Conservative and Reform beyond the pale, with their non-acceptance of Torah l'Moshe M'Sinai, while M.O. accepts (at least the movement does, officially) all of Torah and all 13 ikrim. But knowing the Rebbe's uncompromising view of Yiddishkeit, I shouldn't be surprised that he looks askance at M.O. But to put it in the Conservative category? Can someone explain that? And anyway, with the general shift to the Right these past years, it's hard to know what people are anyway. We all know people from the M.O. world who cover their hair and dress tzniusdik, so does that make them no longer M.O.? They are non-Chasidim and not "yeshivish". Maybe just plain Orthodox?
What makes someone M.O.? Aside from tznius things, their ideas about secular studies? Torah u'Mada? But there are "yeshivish" families or those who send their kids to yeshivishe mosdos that send their kids to college, yet they are not M.O. like those who send to Chofetz Chaim, Chaim Berlin, Torah Vodaas, Prospect Park (girls) etc.
Does it come down to a matter of degree? You're either Orthodox and closer to the yeshivishe world, or Orthodox and closer to the M.O. world?
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Unread 10-08-2002, 11:56 AM   #2
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The problem with MO is that some of their Heteirim crossed the lines of Halachah to being Issurim. That's why the ideology of the movement, which is to find as many Heteirim as possible for a Jew to "fit in" with the secular world, is wrong, because it leads to such Heterim.

You may find Jews who call themself "Conservative" who are more observant than some who call themself "Modern Orthodox". Labeling is truly disabling when it comes to Jewish groups.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 12:10 PM   #3
Jude
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yet one would be allowed to attend a wedding or give a class in a M.O. shul right, but not in a Conservative synagogue, correct? What's the halacha exactly?
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Unread 10-08-2002, 12:10 PM   #4
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In my "dark past" (as Rabbi Brafman called it at Morristown), I was "modern orthodox". I have davened at many MO shuls all over the US. Unfortunately, in essence, MO is no different than Conservative in that there is no true acceptance of the Torah. There is picking and choosing of which mitzvos count and which do not. For example, MO Rabbis say that women do not have to cover their hair if it is short and a hat is worn, or baggy pants are acceptable.

The Rebbe said it perfectly in the letter!
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Unread 10-08-2002, 12:12 PM   #5
masbir
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I think the Rebbe meant "Bedakos" (Lit: Thin. Meaning: on a certain idelogical plane) they are such, in the same way the AR writes that the Non Chabad Chasdim are Tzedokim, and that those who dont accept Chasdos are Kofrim.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 12:17 PM   #6
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We know that dispite the critcisim the Rebbe expressed on Rav Soloveitzik the head of MO Judaism, yet. needless to point out that the Rebbe nevertheless did not think of him as a conservative Rabbi.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 12:24 PM   #7
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With that kind of letter, one has to be VERY careful in determining what the Rebbe meant by Modern Orthodox. I know a number of yidden who would give themselves that term but would be considered just "Orthodox" by the Rebbe. The Rebbe publically stood up for and gave great kovod to a man who many call the leader of MO in America. The term has been very fluid since its inception. The label is especially disabling because everyone means something else when they use it.

If anyone is interested in the various groups and rabbis that call themselves MO but are at many different points on the spectrum, PM me. I do not want to start naming different groups in a public forum.

One big MO chiluk: An MO baalebos is VERY different from a self-proclaimed MO rabbi. And an MO rabbi is very different from a rabbi revered by many MO people.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 02:59 PM   #8
Jude
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To whom it may concern:

Quote:
some of their Heteirim crossed the lines of Halachah to being Issurim.
either they're heiterim and by definition, permissible in the eyes of G-d, or they're issurim and forbidden.

Quote:
there is no true acceptance of the Torah
that's quite an indictment, and maybe precisely what the Rebbe is saying, or ... maybe not. I mean, what does "true acceptance" mean? They don't deny either the Written or Oral Torah. I think that what they don't accept is modern-day Right wing views on various subjects. Like above, either they have what to rely on (proper sources) or they don't.

Quote:
the AR writes that the Non Chabad Chasdim are Tzedokim, and that those who dont accept Chasdos are Kofrim.
where does it say that?
what is meant by b'dakus? It's true that Chasidim marry non-Chasidim, so they can't be actual kofrim, but then it throws the revelations of Chasidus into question, because how can you make a big deal about the vital necessity of Chasidus and how mamosh, you can't love and fear G-d without it etc. etc. and then say the A.R. just meant it b'dakus?

Quote:
the Rebbe nevertheless did not think of him as a conservative Rabbi.
I have no idea what category the Rebbe put him in. After all, Rabbi Herbert Weiner, a Reform Rabbi, had hours of yechidus with the Rebbe and the Rebbe afforded him the greatest respect.

Quote:
...who would give themselves that term but would be considered just "Orthodox" by the Rebbe
so why would they call themselves M.O.?

Quote:
The Rebbe publically stood up for and gave great kovod to a man ...
first of all it's surprising
second of all, no doubt it's due to his tremendous scholarship and personal dikduk b'halacha
what's surprising is that the Rebbe did not publicly stand up for other people who were tremendous scholars (and not M.O) and medakdekim b'mitzvos, why do you think he did so for R' S. and not for all the others?

Quote:
An MO baalebos is VERY different from a self-proclaimed MO rabbi. And an MO rabbi is very different from a rabbi revered by many MO people.
don't understand
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Unread 10-08-2002, 03:44 PM   #9
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What I meant by "true acceptance" is that with many MO there is not complete acceptance of the Torah. THey pick what they want to observe and ignore what they don't want to observe.

For example, there are so-called MO communities where people are shomer Shabbos, shomer kashrus, and the ladies go to the mikveh; and the men learn; but in terms of accepting the Torah beyond that -- NOPE. The ladies are not tznius (pants, uncovered hair, etc), many of the men don't wear Yarmulkes at work.

Baruch Hashem there is observance to this degree. G-d willing, we could all increase our observance -- including me.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 03:52 PM   #10
Jude
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Shabbos, kashrus, mikva, Talmud Torah - that basically defines a practicing Orthodox Jew!
Yarmulkas at work? Quite reputable poskim have said that is acceptable if not desirable. I know someone who got that answer from R' Yaakov Kamenetzky, definitely not a M.O. Rabbi!
As far as pants, uncovered hair, short sleeves, mixed swimming and dancing - I'd like to know where that comes from. In fact, now that I write this, I think it's REALLY IMPT. to know if they have ANY sources whatsoever for this, and did R' S. sanction this. Why? Because I think that Orthodox (and sad to say Chasidim too) are nichshal (fail) in the tznius department because they think that somehow there is a heter to do so. After all, they know that M.O. Jews are shomer Shabbos, kashrus, mikva, etc. and that's what they do, so the often unspoken thought is, there are those who matir these things, and it's good enough for me.
Conversely, if there is no proper halachic basis for doing these things, then it's really bizarre, that Jews should take on so many mitzvos, hard ones too, and make this an exception. I really want to know what is said by the representatives of the M.O. - do they say, gee, we know it's wrong, but ...
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Unread 10-08-2002, 04:21 PM   #11
masbir
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About the meaning of "dakos"

The Zohar and RMBM write that who ever is angry is worshipping Avodeh Zoreh, and the AR explains that it is the same idea of Avodeh Zara, Nu, I ask you most of klal Yisroel are idol worshipping?

That means Avodeh Zara badokos.

Or the Gemara says that whoever lives in diaspera is as if doesnt have a G-D, nu we are we on that score!

Last edited by masbir; 10-08-2002 at 07:49 PM.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 04:36 PM   #12
Jude
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re heterim - in other words, you're saying that halachically, the M.O. have a leg to stand on? G-d is happy about this and won't have any taanos?
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Unread 10-08-2002, 06:52 PM   #13
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<Or the Gemara says that whoever lives in diaspera is as if doesnt have a G-D, nu we are we on that score!>

hopefully we are not living in the diaspora in a manner of permanence and therefore have no problem [LS V2 P 617].
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Unread 10-08-2002, 08:16 PM   #14
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Jude,

r' yaakov kaminetzky you say was deffinately not a M.O. rabbi. thats true if you measure the way he dressed, but if you look at the way he thought, you will find that alot of his thought process was similar to M.O. I am not saying all his hashkofo but alot of it was. i will just tell you an interesting story about him. He was once in Miami Beach and he paid a visit to rabbi Leibel SHapiro (i think he came to the yeshivah) and Rabbi Shapiro drove him to his home or hotel, and as he got out of his car he told rabbi Shapiro that it was his birthday. So rabbi Shapiro began showering him with brochos for a good year etc. r' yaakov then told him that it was lifee the shnas hachamah. R' yaakov is talking to another rosh yeshivah and he informs him that it was his birthday according to the secular calendar. rabbi shapiro was left with his mouth opened and could simply not believe his ears. just a little incident. i am not sure if it is indicative of his modern way of thinking but it certainly is very very strange.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 08:52 PM   #15
Jude
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interesting anecdote, yet rest assured, R' Y.K. was not M.O. - not that we've defined it exactly, but by whatever you're going to say, he was just not. Knew him/of him personally.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 08:55 PM   #16
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just to interject, reading this all brought me to one conclusion-DOWN WITH THE LABELS...
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Unread 10-08-2002, 08:56 PM   #17
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i know he wasnt but his mehalech hamachshovoh was not fun di amolike either.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 08:59 PM   #18
Jude
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no labels? so you mean if a shliach has a question about whether he is permitted to speak at a certain "house of worship" or join in some activity with "certain" other Jews, when speaking to the Rav, he shouldn't use the C or R or M.O. designation?
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Unread 10-08-2002, 09:00 PM   #19
Leayis
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the rebbe himself used those terms when he spoke to shoshana? cardin of the UJA in 5789 when the mihu yehudi was on every ones mind.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 09:02 PM   #20
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right, and the original post of this thread quoted the Rebbe using those very same labels in a letter!
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Unread 10-08-2002, 09:05 PM   #21
Leayis
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when it comes to poel mamosh on issue, these lables are very important, when it comes to viohavto lerayacho komocho their not important.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 09:06 PM   #22
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i think to the rebbe M.O. was not orthodox. he clearly made that distinction to cardin in 5789
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Unread 10-08-2002, 09:26 PM   #23
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What did the Rebbe say?

R' ahron Soloveitxchik was the biggest fighter for Mi Yhudi.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 10:02 PM   #24
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>>An MO baalebos is VERY different from a self-proclaimed MO rabbi. And an MO rabbi is very different from a rabbi revered by many MO people. <<


>don't understand<

Some examples of an MO baalebos: poshut someone who ignores kama mitzvos:

There are NO gedarim of Tznius. (Unlike the other thread which deals with low standards, with MO women there is NO chiluk bichlal between them and the nochrios b'shuk.)

mixed dancing, mixed swimming, for him, his wife, his children.

Davening with a minyan on shabbos morning only (yes there's a shul in the neighborhood)

Sends his sons and daughters to college right after HS, encouraging them to live ON campus, knowing ALL that this implies (v'hameivin yovin)

Mincha during the week: what's that?

Mita Achas.

These came to mind immedaitely. There's more. In all of these things and similar issues, is not interested that there's a teshuva somewhere defending this or that. He poshut doesn't care.
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Unread 10-08-2002, 10:09 PM   #25
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Now an MO Rabbi:

His rebbetzin and family is more tzanua than the baalebos' wife, but not by much. There is clearly more dikduk in mitzvos, though.

Wants MO to be more than what the baalebatim of the previous post do, cries "MO should be about more than mixed dancing!" wants to engage the best of the western world. But the baalebatim don't care for his scholarly and educated articles defending feminist theory. They are happy and complacent barely keeping the meikil edge of Shabbos, Kashrus and TH"M.

Likes writing articles "on the edge" of O issues, but too chicken to actually go over the edge, because he likes staying within the O camp.

Claims to be a talmid of some late MO revered rav, but bears no resemblance to person halachically or hashkafically.
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