Modern and Charedi

I’m usually pretty slow about responding to the topics that the BBT admins suggest to the contributors here, but the one labeled “The War Between the Modern and Chareidi” really provoked me. After all, it’s not a war. What we saw in Eretz Yisroel and Lebanon was a war. People die in war. Modern and Chareidi Jews aren’t killing each other. We may not always be nice to each other, but calling it a war is over-dramatizing. I will, however, agree, that it’s not a very warm peace.

Aside from the wording, the topic caught me because of a conversation I recently had with my son. His day camp, along with several others, rented out a water park for the afternoon. I asked if Camp “Modern” would be going. My son’s camp uses their swimming facilities, so it seemed to me they might join for a trip. My son responded with a cynical, “Them?” and then said something disparaging which I am ashamed to repeat.

I was horrified. I reminded him of who is Bubby and Zaidy are. He loves them and does not look down on them for being non-observant. I also said, “You can’t make fun of people just because they’re modern.”

My son replied, “They make fun of me because I’m Chassidish.”

Ugh. What’s a parent to do? I’m sure my son told the truth. Probably a few kids said some things they shouldn’t have. And even if my son didn’t retaliate then and there, it didn’t help his ahavas Yisroel.

To my mind, there’s really only one solution: modeling ahavas Yisroel. And the only way to do that is to develop ahavas Yisroel. So here’s one small method I’m trying for myself.

I read in Rav Avigdor Miller Speaks that when you’re walking along the street, and you pass a store owned by another Yid – not necessarily someone you know personally – daven for that person to have success in his business. In turn, Hashem will bless you because as we know, whoever blesses the children of Avraham will be blessed as well.

In keeping with this advice, I’ve added my own twist. I daven especially when my first reaction to the other person is negative. Whether my negativity arises because the other person is more modern than I, more Chareidi than I, or because I feel slighted for some personal reason, I whisper a little tefillah, usually for nachas. It definitely changes my attitude for the better.

Now of course, this isn’t the only thing. Friendship between Modern and Chareidi is an even stronger thing. In fact, I would say that one of the major achievements of this blog is that it connects people from different kehillos. And I know it’s not the only place in the Jewish world where it goes on. B’ezras Hashem, one day I’ll post about the Ayecha Shabbaton, a Shabbos that really was a life changer for me.

But just for day to day, I’m davening. I may never see the results, but Hashem listens to tefillah, so perhaps my tiny whispered prayers are making a difference for Klal Yisroel.

50 comments on “Modern and Charedi

  1. Tell him “They make fun of you being chassidish because they think you make fun of them being modern. And you make fun of them being modern because you think they make fun of you being chassidish!”

    Say it in a way that makes it sound as absurd as it really is.

    Hopefully he’ll understand?

  2. Shalom Brothers & Sisters,

    I am a recent Baal Teshuva, I started my return in 2003 and have been increasing my mitzvah observance. I originally found a conservative synagogue in my area which I joined. But I soon became disenfrancised at conservative observance and through an outreach program became involved with an Orthodox minyan at Touro university. There, Rabbi Yitzak Kaufman holds Shabbatons and Yom Tovim programs. I have become a regular member of the minyan and just spent Rosh Hashanah with my friends.

    My point is this. In our minyan we have Sephardim, Chassidim, Haredi and other forms of Orthodox. We all get along, and we all learn from each other. I don’t know why a Jew has to feel intimidated or inferior to others who also practice the same mitzvahs. Sure, we have different Minhag, but Minhag is Minhag, it is not Torah and it is not Mishnah. Most branches of Orthodox all believe the same sources.

    I personally lean toward Chassidus, my family roots link back to Uman and the Breslov Chassidim {Rabbi Nachman of Breslov}. I seek to imbue all of my prayers and all of my observance with simcha {joy} and love to hum nigguns and sway with the feeling.

    I pray all who read this blog will be inscribed in the book of life.

    Michael Uman

  3. Kressel, as always, your post is very relative and poignant in relation to those of us who were not born frum (and even those who were born frum as well).

    One of my own personal caveats is the issue of being friendly and blessing all Yidden. While I made it a point to not judge negatively; I also had the view where someone needed to give me a reason to be friendly to them; which is just as bad if not worse. My “justification” was the speech about gerim that I would hear around and about. Although it was infrequent; it would burn in my memory. I grew to feel that most Jews would just wish that I would disappear from their midst. Unfortunately it led to me just “minding my own business” and not talking to anyone or being very wary of those who I wasn’t formally introduced to (because who knows what they really think about me). Graver yet is that some people have even pointed this out to me; this “indifference” was really a gross negative judgement of all Jews.

    I wish for 5767 to be a year of much less judgement between Yidden and then perhaps Klal Yisrael will be ready for judgement in regards to the receipt of the moshiach. If we can just see everyone as G-d’s creation; understand that we are all linked together; then perhaps this long galut will end!

    L’shana tova tiketevu!

  4. there really is a war out there. as a participant in a major blog out there, we all knew that a majority of the true feelings between the haredi and modern camp couldnt be aired, because it violates tora rules. if high powered intellectuals hate each other lishma, imagine what the ‘amcha’ feels. MAYBE the mashiach could bridge the gap, but i would be surprised…..

  5. I live in a small New England area. when I walk to shul on shabbos, I always try to be “makdim shalom” to joggers, bike riders, etc. Pretty much without exception they respond “good shabbos” (except on yom tov when at least one has responded “good yom tov”) you never know!

  6. “I guess what I am saying is to beware of the self-righteousness of demanding our own definition of what is ahavas yisroel from others, and lets just concentrate on our own behavior and do what we think is right. There is no necessary reason to interpret the lack of a greeting as a personal or communal rejection. That kind of reaction is purely coming from low self-esteem.”

    I agree Dina. Your comment really struck me, mostly because when I am so thrilled that it is Shabbat that I can’t wait to see another Jew so I can wish them a “good Shabbos” it really feels good. *I* shouldn’t let that good feeling be diminished just because the other person, for whatever reason, didn’t respond. How can I tell how my heartfelt greeting was received?

    What a shame it would be to spend Shabbat in a crummy mood because all the people I wished a “good Shabbos” didn’t respond, especially considering that I have no way of knowing what the other person really thought.

  7. Thank you Rabbi Dovid Schwartz for the story about the Chasidah bird (post #16) – what an amazing lesson for all.

    I just want to wish everybody here a good Shabbos and also a sweet and happy New Year. Between living in my predominantly Orthodox neighbourhood here in Toronto and visiting this blog I have learned so much about the richness of Orthodoz Judaism. You have helped bring me closer to G-d as well. So your chesed has had impact even beyond the bounds of yiddishkeit! Truly, “all nations will be blessed in you”.

    Shabbot Shalom and L’Shana Tova,

    Elin Goulden

  8. Dina et al,
    “H’vei makdim shalom l’chol adam.”! The g’morra calls failing to to respond to someone’s else’s shalom as “g’zeilas ani”. Issues of tzinus aside, it is definately not just “a nice inyon” to be freindly. It is “gufei halachos” ie fundamental to Yiddishkeit. Of course one has to be m’lamed z’chus on those that don’t tend to give shalom. But we are not talking about two valid approaches to Yiddishkeit, one of freindliness and one reserved. I agree with you that one should not try to force a shalom aleichem down someone’s throught.

    David, you did the right thing. That woman is probably has a greater sense that frum Jews respect and value her.

  9. I was really resisting posting to this thread.

    On the one hand I was a little annoyed that people were being so Polyannish about this topic. There are real problems, yes even feuding, between us. Here in Israel and especially in Beit Shemesh where I live we see and experience things that are rare in the US.

    On the other hand people were being so wonderfully Elulish about this topic that I didn’t want to say anything to spoil it. After all, if everyone were behaving as nice as the people here there would be no problem.

    So I was going to stay away and hopefully just benefit from reading your comments. Then something happened this morning which provoked me to write now.

    A couple of days ago I was cajoled into taking pictures at a ceremony in one of the Shuls here. A wonderful chesed organization called Keren Yosef was dedicating an Ambulette for the community.

    When I arrived at the shul I noticed more than the typical number of black-coated Chareidim. (The typical number being close to zero.)

    Just as a quick background, our neighborhood is mostly modern orthodox with a minority of chilonim (non-orthodox). Directly East and South of us are two primarily chareidi communities, Nachala Menucha and Ramat Beit Shemesh B. These Chareidim definitely appeared to be from one of those communities.

    As it turned out, our community’s Keren Yosef was donating this Ambulete to Nachala Menucha’s sister organization called Ezrat Achim, run by, what I know now, is an amazing man, Rabbi Kup. Rabbi Kup is all action and all chessed. Basically this ambulete will be used for non-emergency transport by Ezrat Achim for the benefit of everyone in Beit Shemesh.

    I know there are a lot of issues to be dealt with and, here at least, just saying “Good Shabbos” ain’t going to cut it. But what I saw this morning was a beautiful example of how we can work together for the sake of the greater clal and it instilled me with a wonderfully positive feeling as I head into Rosh Hashana.

    I posted a few of the pictures here so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about.

    Shabbat Shalom and Good Shabbos to all.

  10. Public Service Alert

    One new art form that I’ve observed lately on several Jewish blogs is commenters impersonating chareidim and stating extreme positions to try to discredit chareidim. In two cases I saw, the commenters later owned up to their tricks, thinking them to be really clever. So consider—before you react— that some of the more off-the-wall comments you see in various places may be a form of parody.

  11. David:

    I would definitely agree with you, that when in doubt it is better to err on the side of being pleasant and friendly. My point was, really, what to do when people don’t return your greeting. Do we assume that they lack basic derech eretz? Obviously, we shouldn’t judge others, people can be very different even if they look the same, and in fact they may be assuming negative things about us because we greet them, which are not intended. (This is relevant to LC’s point about greeting the teenage girls in E”Y who obviously did not agree with the cultural assumption that it is a good thing to greet strangers on the street.)

    The only reason I made this point is because in this thread and others I felt there was/is certain negative assumptions being made about individuals or groups of people based on their “non-friendliness” on the street on Shabbos. I think we should all just focus on our own behavior, try to be sensitive to others, and just shrug if our greeting is unreciprocated. Don’t assume any moral conclusion based on the presence or absence of a “good shabbos.”

    And, on that note, Good Shabbos everyone, and Kesiva ve Chasima Tova, a sweet new year!
    (Now, who’s going to return my greeting? :) )

  12. Wow, thanks for the positive mention, Rabbi Schwartz!

    I try to wish others “good shabbos” or “shabbat shalom” or “gutshabbes” if i know or it seems that they are a Jew who has some kind of Shabbos consciousness — the problem is anticipating which greeting to use ;-) .

  13. Just a note of clarification, this lady I was talking about is walking to a conservative shul on shabbos morning so I don’t think it is improper to say Good Shabbos to her.

    As to the question of whether I should have stopped saying Good Shabbos after the lady didn’t respond the first few times, I think many of the commentors may be correct that I should have thought about if she is simply not the type of person who greets strangers in the street.

    I think that the reason I was happy that she reluctantly responded was because I thought (perhaps naievely) that I had made a small connection with a fellow Jew. In reality, maybe I just bludgeoned her into submission.


    You are making a good point. But keep in mind that these decisions are often made on the fly and also that we are not talking about objective right and wrong but how each of us sizes up the situation. The way, I look at it, even in retrospect, I still think that erring on the side of chesed/derech eretz/proper chinuch/avoiding chiul hashem as opposed to second guessing and postulating that this particular lady might be taken aback by the public greeting of a stranger (fellow Jew). I certianly wouldn’t want to make her uncomfortable but think that given the limited information I had, a Good Shabbos was safer than no greeting at all.

    Does this make any sense?

  14. Dina’s point is very well taken.Even a remark that seems innocuous and basic derech eretz to us can seem like a mussar shmuez to someone who is not yet frum.

  15. The Kruma Lamden-Actually, I have heard that RYBS would either wave a car by that wanted to stop for a pedestrian or approve giving directions to a motorist who asked someone walking to shul on the grounds that any Chillul Shabbos would be minimized. FWIW, the Mishneh Brurah quotes R Akiva Eger on the issue of Zachor, not Shamor and AFAIK, many Poskim don’t exactly view public demonstrations over Chilul Shabbos as having any positive value except possibly fulfilling a mitzvah of tochecha. Take a look at the CI in YD Siman 19 ( I think) where the CI emphasizes the need for Ahavas Yisrael as a means of kiruv as opposed to other conduct that will make a not yet frum Jew even more distant from Torah and Mitzvos.I have also seen R Nevenzahl quoted somewhere as saying that some sort of symbolic protest is necessary, but WADR, I don’t understand and I leave it for Gdolim to reconcile the views of the CI and R Nevenzahl.

  16. Chaim G, I wasn’t intending on setting the bar too high (that phrase sounds familiar) by suggesting that we should only say Good Shabbos, if our motivations are pure. I’m a big believer that almost every act we do has mixed motivations. But I think Dina’s comments have given me pause to think about the whens, whys and hows of this seemingly simple act.

    In terms of classifying “Good Shabbos” as chessed, my Yiddishkeit framework puts every positive act in the domain of either Torah, Avodah or Gemilas Chasadim and therefore “Good Shabbos” falls into Chessed in that framework as does all derech eretz. (See the Maharal’s commentary to the second Mishna of Avos).

  17. SL,
    I would be very cautious with the “warm hello” to a non-religious person. It sometimes generates a “Don’t you think I’m Jewish enough to say good Shabbos to?” type reaction.

  18. Steve-

    L’Chora Kal V’Chomer if we stood on street corners shouting SHABBIS SHABBIS SHABBIS @ the top of our lungs to our M’Chalel Shabbos co-religionists as they dare to drive through our neighborhoods! We could even be metsaded that you’re also being Yotseh Shomor.

    After all, why waste time treating people like gavras when we can conveniently use them as cheftzas for our own all-important bain Odom L’Mokom???

  19. That should read saying “Good Shabbos” or “Shabbat Shalom” (at least to a shomer Shabbat person of the same gender). . . . i.e. Dina’s comments about a non-observant person’s reaction is well taken. For the non-observant, a warm hello might be better, although many of the older non-observant Jewish ladies seem to have nachas from wishing us a “gutten Shabbos,” a greeting we happily reciprocate.

  20. I will write more later, since my comments seem to have generated some feedback I wasn’t particularly expecting.

    For now I will just say that saying “Good Shabbos” or “Shabbat Shalom” (at least to a person of the same gender) is, IMO, just basic derech eretz and not a chessed or a lesson in mussar or ahavat yisrael. But, people like to be acknowledged, rather than feel invisible, and by totally ignoring an extended greeting (or by failing to say thank you or excuse me and other nicities), a person can understanably feel slighted.

  21. Atually, R Akiva Eger stated ( as quoted by the Mishneh Brurah in Hilcos Shabbos on the halachos of Kiddush ) that one could posssibly fulfill the positive mitzvah of verbally mentioning Shabbos ( the “zachor” aspect of “zachor vshamor”) by wishing someone a Good Shabbos. If we saw saying Good Shabbos in that light, we might all be saying Good Shabbos without any hesitations or inquiry as to whether it is a form of Chesed or display of Ahavas Yisrael.

  22. To David Linn:

    There are two issues here: one, the issue of whether to say good shabbos to all whom you pass on the way to shul, and what to do if they do not reciprocate; and two, the chinuch issues involved. First I think we have to clarify for ourselves what the right thing to do is and why; and then the chinuch issue becomes easier.

    So, firstly, if a person is not used to saying good shabbos and doesn’t reciprocate your greeting, you can either continue to wish them well if they don’t seem offended or think you’re weird, or you can choose to whom you offer those greetings depending on their presentation or reaction. For example, if the conservative Jewish lady you pass is clearly not a shomeres shabbos, saying to her “good shabbos” may in fact be interpreted as an “in your face” mussar shmooze about shabbos, or it may be seen as a pleasant greeting. You would have to evaluate that based on her reaction! So, yes, sometimes it depends on a person’s reaction whether you choose to greet her a second time. For me, I greet those whose faces seem open to greeting, and avoid bothering those who seem to be happy being left alone. I don’t think it accomplishes anything to force my friendliness on anyone.

    In terms of explaining this to your son, depending on his age, I don’t think it would be too difficult to explain that “some people appreciate beeing greeted by a stranger and some don’t, and the religious folk are more accustomed to it. But we certainly can smile at everyone, honey.”

    Do you agree?

  23. I try not to discriminate based on observance level. I don’t wish anyone a good shabbas/t…or a bad one for what matter.

    just kidding…

  24. addendum to #19:

    I have, however, always wondered about the prayerful quid pro quo that Kressel advises.

    I always thought that when Chazal teach that “one who prays for another and is in need of the same thing has their prayer answered first” that, ironically, this might only “work” for those unaware of the teaching/principle. B/C if one is aware of this promise, and desires it’s fulfillment, can it really be said that they are praying for another (rather than for themselves)?

  25. I don’t even know if I would consider saying Good Shabbos to a fellow Jew as a chesed. To me it just seems like derech eretz. This is especially true when you are saying it to everyone else on the way and excluding this one (conservative) lady might be deemed a slight, even if she didn’t originally reciprocate. Additionally, how would I explain to my son why I leave her out? Tell him that she doesn’t answer back? Doesn’t THAT actually show that I am just saying it to those who return my greeting?

  26. Mark-

    I think you’re setting the bar too high. I acknowledge that it is not Chesed shel Emes but I believe it is still chesed, not din. If we had to wait until we rid ourselves of all ulterior motives before extending kindness the world would be a much crueler place. as long as we aren’t being willfully manipulative of the recipient of our chesed IMO we should forge ahead.

  27. Dina: Great points.

    In this time of self-examination for Jews one can find many layers of Gaiva (arrogance) lurking. I have heard that the root of anger is gaiva, and that anger stems from avodah zara. The idea is that “I am in control, and things are supposed to go MY WAY”.

    Recently while reading Akeidas Yitzchak I realized one of the supreme lessons of this story is how Avraham was able to bend to Hashem’s will even when it must have challenged one of his most logical and instictive urges: to protect his child from death. In this case, Avraham had to change his thinking from “I surely know what is best for my son”(life) to “If this is Hashem’s will, then in this case it is best to make a korban of my son”

    If Avraham was able to change that fundamental belief in his own self-righteousness, probably we should be able to tackle far lesser challenges to our firm beliefs, learning the lesson of submission and emunah.

    I found this helpful in dealing with demands that mechanchim made which I was sure were contrary to the best interests of my children.

  28. I think Sephardic Lady’s statement “productive actions that we can do to create less hostility between SHOMER SHABBAT JEWS of all stripes.” is very telling.

    It’s not that we don’t need to greet non-Shomer Shabbos Jews warmly; it’s that, with Kiruv enjoying near universal acceptance and popularity among Shomer-Shabbos Jews today, we don’t need any urging to.

    To segue from themes of two recent (MO Kiruv and Sartorial Splendor) posts; it is an ornery quirk of Jewish Nature that we, almost instinctively, get the e warm–fuzzies for any Jew whose attire identifies them as not-frum (DK don’t get hot and bothered I’m not limiting myself to a Goth with multiple piercings, a yuppie in a business suit with sideburns clearly clipped above the temple-bone evokes the same reaction) but greet Jews who are manifestly frum, but from a camp other than our own, with suspicion and hostility. It is as if there is a statute of limitations on Tinok-Shenishbah tolerance. While you are still feeling your way we love you and your pintele yid. We are not distracted by your off-putting exterior because we still harbor hopes (some would say fantasies) of bringing your inner-Jew to the fore. But once you’ve been around frumkeit for a couple of years the thinking goes “Well you’re no longer clueless. You’ve had your crack at comparative religion (within Judaism of course). What has taken you so long to grasp the error of your ways and the correctness of my own? Forget it… your hopeless!”

    This intolerance and impatience is even more pronounced if the object of our disdain is an FFB. After all, they’ve enjoyed the benefit of a good Torah education and can study so many of the source materials themselves. They’ve had a lifetime to ponder. With all that exposure to different types of Frum Jews, with all that time to compare and contrast, why are they/aren’t they more/less embracing of modernity, machmir in Halakha, supportive of Israel, dedicated to lifetime Torah study/Higher education, covered by more/less formal/casual/archaic/in-vogue cloth, conversant in English/Yiddish/Ivrit than me? Simply put why can’t they be more like me (the very embodiment of the ideal Jew/Mentsch)?

    I think that Steg, DK, Jeff et al make a strong argument when they say that acceptance and warmth must begin with legitimization. As long as we as a people fail to recognize that Torah lifestyle comprises a beautiful mosaic rather than a monolith Ahavas Yisrael will remain an elusive ideal. There’s nothing wrong with feeling that your own derech (path) is right…for you! There is something wrong and fundamentally small minded in concluding that, therefore it is right for everyone.

    We’ve also got to get away from maximalist thinking. Even if we posit (incorrectly) that the other Jew’s lifestyle is only a 78% score in the test of life whereas our own high standards hover in the high 90s, why treat our brothers and sisters differently than we would our children? When our kids bring home a 78% test score we know that we can hope for much better future results if we give them positive encouragement than if we reject the performance with a dismissive “This won’t do. You’re capable of so much more. Why… when I took this subject I aced it!” It is even more vital to positively reinforce the kid when our child is a student whom we cannot realistically expect to ever score much “higher”.

    Besides praying for Divine guidance and assistance in ennobling this midah we’d be wise to heed Rav Dessler’s advice in Kunteres HaChesed (treatise on Loving-kindness). There, he inverts the causality relationship between loving and giving. Most people believe that we give to those whom we love. Rav Dessler points out that, in truth, we love those to whom we give. Try giving a smile, time, money, sound advice, Torah, interest free loans or anything meaningful that you have to give, to a Jew of a stripe different than your own and observe how your negative attitude begins to change.

    In Torah thought, names are indicative of the name-bearers essence. The Chidushei HoRi”m asks: Why is a bird with a name as lovely as Chasidah an Oif Tamey (non-kosher species of bird)? His answer is based on Chazal’s deconstruction of the name. They interpret it to mean that “She does Chesed (loving-kindness) with her peers in terms of sharing food”. He points out that the Chasidah is kind and giving to her “peers” i.e. birds-of-a feather exclusively. The kind of chesed that is limited to ones own kind, concludes the Ri”m, is still essentially “unkosher/tamey”. Chesed that is of the holy variety is extended to” the other”.

  29. I agree with Dina. I never thought saying “Good Shabbos” was intended to be a mussar lesson on Ahavas Yisroel for others.

    When you say say Good Shabbos because it’s the right thing to do (when it is the right thing) it’s an act of Chesed, when you are looking for reciprocal behavour it becomes an act of Din.

  30. I liked the post Kressel, and I liked most of the comments. Something, tho, is niggling at me from the comments, and that is why is it that we, in our attempts to demonstrate our own ahavas yisroel, for example, by greeting others on shabbos, then seem to demand a response back. And when it is not coming, we judge them for lacking ahavas yisroel. Isn’t this self-defeating? And we then call it a “vicotry for ahavas yisroel” when we get a response out of them after a few months?

    I can think of many reasons why someone may not want to greet a stranger on the street, especially in a city, and especially in a male-female context, even if it is another frum yid. Perhaps they have problems and are contmplating them; perhaps they are the type to “be in their own world” (I have a kid like that!); perhaps they are tired; perhaps they have started davening; perhaps they have been raised to be circumspect and restrained and it goes against their personalities, etc.

    I guess what I am saying is to beware of the self-righteousness of demanding our own definition of what is ahavas yisroel from others, and lets just concentrate on our own behavior and do what we think is right. There is no necessary reason to interpret the lack of a greeting as a personal or communal rejection. That kind of reaction is purely coming from low self-esteem.

    And if we perceive after some time that someone is not the “greeting on the street” type, perhaps we should leave them alone or maybe just nod to them. Isn’t that more kavod ha brios?

  31. Kressel, welcome back why it was just yesterday that anony-source bewailed your retirement and …presto… you’re back!

  32. Below is a thought from the Shem Mishmuel that I saw recently. It pertains to this discussion as well as to the subjects of kiruv generally and Yom Kippur. I add a few of my own thoughts at the bottom.

    The mishna says “u’machziran lamachteshes b’erev Yom Hakippurim”. Meaning, the kohanim would return the b’samim to the grinder on erev yom kippur in order that they should be re-ground so that they would be daka min hadaka (extremely fine). The Shem Mishmuel points out that there were ten b’samim plus chelbana which has a bad smell. He says that the 10 besamim are k’neged the 10 groups described at the beginning of parshas N’tzavim: Rasheichem, shivteicham… ad chotev etzecha v’shoeiv memecha. Every segment of klal Yisrael. He says that the chelbana represents the Yidden that are not living baderech HaTorah. When one wants to combine solids so that they should become one new substance, one grinds them thoroughly. (Like cinnamon sugar. If we would just break up whole cinnamon sticks into crumbs and mix them into sugar, it wouldn’t be a new light brown substance called cinnamon sugar. Mi). We see further that achdus can only come through kitush. That is to say, grinding ourselves down and getting rid of our middas hagaavah and looking at each other respectfully. He says that only then, when we are b’achdus amongst the frummeh yidden, is there a place to be m’karev the chelbana. If we attempt to bring close the non-frum when we are not b’achdus, it exacerbates the pirud “k’yaduah u’mforsem”.

    ad cahn the Shem Mishmuel, translated by me.

    I think this a very big point. A person that does not like other frum Jews should not be involved in kiruv.

  33. When I walk to shul shabbos morning I, invariably, pass the same people. (Hey, no one goes to a shul near their home, that would be too easy!) I always endeavor to say Good Shabbos or Shabbat Shalom. I love the experience as I pass Ashkenazim, Sefardim, Chasidim, Mordern, Charedi, Conservative. There is one lady with a really stern face, that I said Good Shabbos to every morning for months with no reply. Finally, she started to respond, begrudgingly and very quietly “Good Shabbos”. A victory for Achdus?

  34. Thank you Kressel for writing about this, especially now during Elul. I sure hope this issue is smaller than we imagine it, but if not, my own humble opinion is that adults have their own feelings, BTs included and that kids pick up largely what they see being modeled at home and in school. I find it hard to believe that if we as responsible adults and parents model not just tolerance, but kindness and respect to others, that it won’t be contagious. That would not only include modern, but anyone, cleaning help, construction workers, the aides for the elderly.

    We had a very choshuve guest who was elderly and came with an aide. The aide was of a different color, different nation, and accompanied his patient everywhere including Shabbos meals, as he was unable to ambulate independently. At first, my kids were trying to figure out how to understand this fellow at our Shabbos and Yom Tov table. After many times of seeing us not only accord respect to the aide, but to serve him food, drink, whatever he wished, they on their own, became naturals at it. Remembering he liked pepper in his soup, and certain other things. I have seen this over and over in many circumstances in my family and my friends families. My kids always politely greet neighbors first, though they are very different from us in culture and lifestyle, nevertheless, they do so, showing them respect.

    My son’s Yeshiva and Roshei Yeshiva stand firm with a Chareidi mindset. They also manage to stress achdus amongst Jews, judging others favorably, respecting others, nothing else is acceptable. Last year my son’s dorm was on a block where only a certain type of Chasidim resided, and as Kressel saw, kids will be kids, some of the younger children made certain remarks to my son and his roommates. (Very few and I want to point out that the dorm hosts and the rest of the block were wonderfully warm and respectful to the boarding boys). Instead of the Roshei Yeshiva criticizing a group or a people for the inappropriate behavior, they found a positive way to explain, understand and correct it, teaching a life lesson to their own students, the children who were wrong, and any of us who heard about it.

  35. Neil,

    I agree that we don’t need to wait for someone else to greet us.

    I can recall one encounter. Walking on a city street in a very Orthodox neighborhood on Shabbos or Yom Tov, I passed a rather frum-looking man. As I approached, he gave no sign of recognizing that I was there, but I wished him a hearty greeting anyway. And he did reply and even smile. I at least accomplished something.

  36. Perhaps I should take a new approach and always smile and offer a greeting, even if it will be met with a blank stare that will hurt me.
    Absolutely! After spending a year in E”Y, I’ve been hesitant about wishing a “good Shabbos” to men in the community whom I don’t know well, but I make a point otherwise – especially with the teen/pre-teen girls who have been known to make faces (who are you?), turn away, or just ignore me – they need to learn manners.

    Pirkei Avos tells us to ‘greet everyone with a pleasant face’. OK, so maybe my “good Shabbos” to the girls who clearly had no intention of saying anything to me has a bit of (hello? are you there?!) in it, but it’s a start. :-)

    And Kressel – teaching your son now that middos are just like hitting (i.e., *you* do what’s right even if they don’t) is a good lesson for life. I hope you made it clear to HIM that [he] said something disparaging which I am ashamed to repeat.

  37. Davening is a great solution.
    It makes no difference if people respond or not. Just saying “Good Shabbos” makes a difference. You’re showing Hashem that you acknowledge another Jew. And if you do it with your kids around, they pick up. My 4yr old daughter says Good Shabbos to everyone at the park. Even the non-Jews…

  38. Those Jews who see right through Jewish strangers on the street and won’t wish them a Good Shabbos (often even in reply) need guidance to overcome their habit/shyness/whatever. Their Rabbonim and teachers and other talmidei chachamim should be the first to break the ice and set the example in this area. And the smile with the greeting should come from the heart.

  39. We have talked a lot about modeling correct behavior here for our children when it comes to non-Jews and non-frum Jews in the past, I believe.

    This is just another area where we need to model positive behavior, not just so the correct behavior sinks in with our children, but so it sinks in with ourselves.

    It is too easy, and almost fashionable, to ignore someone who isn’t in “our circle,” to turn out heads when they walk by on Shabbat, or look them up and down and then forget (or is it purposely choose) not to say “Good Shabbos” or “Shabbat Shalom.”

    It really hurts to be ignored and the impolite behavior usually perpetuates itself on both sides. I know I am guilty of playing the ignoring game back to those who (I’ve perceived) as ignororing and looking down on me. Nobody likes to experience what can only be interpretted as rejection, and sometimes it is easier to put up a fence than try to break through the cold stares with a friendly face.

    But, your piece is really good mussar here in Elul when we are looking for forgiveness Bein Adam L’Chaveiro. Perhaps I should take a new approach and always smile and offer a greeting, even if it will be met with a blank stare that will hurt me. I don’t want my own children to see that I am selective about who I acknowledge with a friendly face, especially since there is a big chance that one of the less friendly will someday be a Torah teacher of my own children. Children pick up on everything and setting them back in their chinuch prematurely is just stupid.

    Looking forward to hearing other comments on productive actions that we can do to create less hostility between Shomer Shabbat Jews of all stripes.

  40. One way to get around the feud within this blog is to concentrate on presenting positive, useful information. Unfortunately, attempts at this can often include recommendations like “Stay away from Group X; they’re too _____ for you.” I’d like to see less of that!

    In real life outside the blog, the key to better relations is to meet and talk one-on-one or in very small groups with the “Others” in an informal, low pressure setting. Thought should be given to creating more such settings.

    Living “out of town” in places where the number of shul options is small tends to cause more interaction among people with varying approaches. They often agree to disagree on issues but act in a neighborly way.

  41. Not to take anything away from Kressel’s great post, but just to clarify the actual topic suggestion was:
    “Can we end the unproductive feud between the Modern and Charedi world?”

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