Wednesday, July 26, 2006


The Torah was created given by G-d, with instructions for the entire world.

Just like everyone was created by G-d, everyone is connected to the Torah, which is a reflection of G-d, the Creator.

The difference between an apple and Judaism is that regarding Judaism, even if someone does not like its taste, it still benefits him since it will give him life in this world and the next, regardless of whether he is on a level to realize that.

It is analogous to a world of poisoned apples and one healthy one. The poisoned ones may taste better, but they're still not best for you.

If someone would realize the benefits the Torah has for him, and the detriment of not following it, they surely would choose Torah.

The reason they do not realize this is either they do not know, or because there is a Yetzer Horah that was created specifically to distract people from thinking about this. This apple does not.

So in other words, those who do not like this "apple" only do so because they are blinded by the Yetzer Horah. You would be doing them a favor by not allowing them to kill themselves by rejecting it.

If someone were going to jump off a roof, would you say that for him, life is just an apple that he feels is better rejected?

Or would you say that he is not thinking straight for whatever reason.

Yes, the Torah is definitely for everyone. G-d said so, and He knows best.


It definitely would be much better for people not fully religious yet if they would indeed just change their lifestyle overnight. The problem is, humans are humans, and being used to a totally different lifestyle, it will be very very hard for them to do just change suddenly. It takes an almost impossible amount of self-discipline and willpower. They are more likely not to give up if they take it slowly and get used to it little by little.

It's like stopping smoking for instance - going "cold turkey" is very hard - so you cut down little by little till you are ready never to smoke again. It doesn’t mean that smoking isn’t bad for anybody - it just means that people being humans are more likely to stick with lifestyle change if it comes in stages.


Rav Gifter was once talking about the phrase "modern orthodox" and how people think that as long as you’re "Orthodox" that means you're "in the fold" (I don’t remember if that was the exact phrase he used, but that was the idea). It was in his son-in-law's shul in Far Rockaway. He said that the word "Orthodox" is not even a Jewish word - it's Greek, and as far as Torah is concerned it has no status whatsoever. He said that there are Torah Jews and Non-Torah Jews and that's it. We should not think of the boundaries of Torah Jews vs. non-Torah Jews in terms of Orthodox vs. non-Orthodox, but rather objectively according to the criteria of the Torah, not the man-made, synthetic definitions of "Orthodoxy."


The word orthodox is greek, but not disparaging. It means "The acceptable way" or "the accepted way" to do something. Check out the word "unorthodox" in English. It means "unconventional" or "untraditional".

We only call ourselves this because others do. It's not really meaningful. There are, in reality those who are committed to Torah and those who are not. While it is true that "Conservative" and "Reform" clearly are labels that indicate non-commitment to Torah, "Orthodox" is a bit more ambiguous. Officially calling yourself orthodox is saying "I am committed to the accepted, traditional, version of Torah", but everyone can have their own version of what that is. If someone were to say that sentence, you may answer with, "That's your opinion". Calling yourself "Orthodox" is just another way of expressing that opinion, which may or may not be true. So the phrase really means a lot less than people think.


The attitude that looking more like the goyim is a positive thing, something to strive for, is completely wrong.

Imagine yourself Lord Greystoke of the United Kingdom accidentally lost in the jungle, forced to live among the apes. You can look at yourself as royalty and make sure that you act, dress, and speak like an aristocratic human, only resorting to "ape language" and behavior where necessary to survive, or, you can lose sight of your own aristocracy, don a loincloth, swing from vines, and be proud of yourself for "looking like a normal citizen of the jungle."

And imagine your entire family having to live among the apes, and their trying do hard to maintain a sense of dignity in your lives until you get rescued, so they make sure to eat with a fork and spoon, from normal plates, dressed in normal clothes.

Then in you swing from your vine with your club and loincloth, eating on the floor with your hands like a monkey.

And when your parents ask you to please dress like a human you tell them "I am prouder of those humans who look like normal citizens of the jungle."

That’s pretty much what’s happening here. You should be proud to look like a Jew in all ways - at the very least, there should be no pride in looking like normal "citizens of the jungle." Why would there be? Such pride is a sign of some misunderstanding regarding your uniqueness as a Jew and the difference between you and what you call "normal citizens."

The second thing is, even if there would be nothing weird about wanting to look like the monkeys, and even if your parents were totally on mars, still, it would not be worth causing friction between you and them, and between you and your community, over a matter of what kind of pants to wear. The very accusation you level at them - why do they care so much about dress - can be directed with even more force at yourself. For whereas your parents do not pay a price for asking you to conform in your dress, you pay a very measurable price by insisting on dressing not the way they ask. And so not only do you prefer to dress the way you do, you are willing to go through much domestic and social aggravation to do so.

If that is due to an unwillingness to give in, you are merely spiting yourself; if it is due to the intensity of your desire for jeans and a t-shirt, you are expressing much more than a preference, but an insistence on dressing that way. Either way, it’s more than just that you like certain clothes.




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