Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Aishes Chayil

Behind every frum man, is the woman who keeps him that way...

I find myself trying to formulate semi-intelligent posts ad the oddest times. The shower seems to works great on the literary mind. Problem is, by the time I dry off & get a chance to actually post, my mental masterpiece is gone.

Last night my wife was in the room with me as I surfed some of the blogs that I keep track of and I tried to explain to her the vast underworld of blogging and how fascinating it can be. At the time I happened to be catching up on “A Hassid & A Heretic”- a blog I enjoy reading. It is by a chassidishe guy who lives in Williamsburg with his wife and children and while his community looks up to him as an erliche yid and a talmid chacham (I think he even gives some local shiurim), he believes in none of it. He’s a fascinating read and maybe one day I’ll actually post or write him.

His current post summarizes the people he has discovered in the blogging world coping with similar issues:

“We can divide them in a few categories.

1. The ones who believe in god yet don’t believe in everything that they were taught. They won’t eat meat and milk together not even cold but won’t wait the six hours required by the Halacha. These people would just change the rules a little to be more consistent with the original Judaism. If only they stood a chance.

2. People who fully believe, yet like to sin. Those people would refrain from doing their usual amount of sins from Elul (before the high holy days) until after Sukkos, or at times when their guilty feelings creep up on them like guilt tends to do so often. Personally I don’t understand how people who believe in Schar Ve’oinesh (award and punishment) could bring themselves to sin so gravely while believing that they will regret it.

3. Non-believers. They don’t believe, don’t follow the commands and don’t care much about the religion altogether. Those can be subdivided into two categories too. A) People like me who are still Chassidim on the outside for what ever reason. B) People who have severed all ties to Orthodox Judaism.”

My wife then asked me which category I thought I fell in.

Generally, my wife thinks that I’m on the verge of apikorsis. This is because while she is content with observing and following without needing to understand, I am always making sarcastic comments. We both believe, but which is better? Now don’t get me wrong. I believe Yiddishkeit is authentic. I think that if Ezra or one of the tannaim came to NY in the year 2005 and walked into a shteeble, they’d walk out scratching their heads. But hey, it’s what’s kept the Jewish people unique and true to God for a long time now so who am I to argue? It’s the small stuff that bugs me. Sometimes my kids come home from school with the wildest stories that I could swear the rebbe made up. That’s fine for chinuch, but the kids grow up with these stories being what’s important and not what the point originally was.

I think women are generally more faithful to God than us men. They just feel it in their hearts while the men need to work on it and search for God. Aishes Chayil Mi Yimtzah?

So back to the question. Which do I think I fall in? I would say maybe #1, but #1 is a little vague and can include so many people. Also, I don’t think I’d chuck observances as freely as #1 calls for. The area’s I fall short in are more due to my laziness than anything else.

She then asked me if I have a blog. I lied and said no. That sucks but if I’m going to write anything, she can’t know about this. Like I said, trusting.


At 3:05 PM, Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"She then asked me if I have a blog. I lied and said no" ...I'll keep your secret if you keep mine.

My wife walked in yesterday and I slammed the screen of my laptop down. Too many dirty words (although see my censored revisions).

If you consider me good company, then you're in good company with the lazy believers!

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

I think his categories are too simplistic, and he leaves out the major category of people who try their best, sometimes fall short, but I guess that is more of a post for his blog, not yours.

My wife is funny. She leaves post it notes on my computer with a smiley face reminding me to stay off porn sites. As for my Blog, I haven't given her the address yet, but she knows about it, and knows if she asks for the address I'll give it to her.

I am not really worried about what she'll say if she reads what I write, because she has seen so much of what I write that there is nothing that will really surprise her, shock her, or make her run out of the room screaming.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

I agree. I noted that his categories did not seem to cover all the bases.

If I was looking at porn, post-its would not be the limit to the wrath...lol. Needless to say, I feel it's best that this adventure be on the hush-hush. As it is, I can't write the truly controversial stuff cuz so far, the only visitors here are people I know!

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

Aww, you can write anything in front of us. We don't judge. So long as you aren't gay, a Hassid in disguise, or anything else too horrible to mention.

At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"erliche yid and a talmid chacham (I think he even gives some local shiurim),"

You've gotta be kidding. The fellow is a complete am haaretz. He's in satmar and his claim to fame is that he learned in a litvish yeshiva for a year or two - but he says he and the other chassidim weren't spending much time learning. *HE* doesn't thnk he knows anything, and neither does anyone else.

You're missing the main problem with the chassidic culture which is that there is no imperative to be learned, they are very happy with am haaratzus. no stigma attached at all.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Anon: Thanks for dropping by. I think my post said that "his COMMUNITY looks up to him as an erliche yid and a talmid chacham (I think he even gives some local shiurim)". I think that came from him, not me. I can't vouch for his 'ehrlichkeit' since I have no clue as to who he is.


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