Sunday, November 29, 2009


I met an old Rabbi recently, a nice guy who taught in a yeshiva somewhere (I don't remember where) very friendly. We talked for a little after Maariv. He seemed to have a world of wisdom in the form of stories for just about every topic, as only an old timer could.

Somewhere along the conversation we hit the topic of orthodoxy/yeshivas. He told me that there is a difference between a good boy in a "yeshivishe" yeshiva and one in a modern orthodox one. He went onto explain that in a yeshivishe yeshiva a good boy is one that learns at any given moment he has and has respect for his elders. I was wondering exactly what he was going to say for a good modern orthodox boy, but I had no idea he was going to say what he said. He said that in a modern orthodox yeshiva a good boy is (take a sip of a drink near you and hold) one who doesn't watch TV on shabbos (now spit the drink out real quickly) .

I was taken aback for a minute, like I said last paragraph I wasnt ready for this kind of answer. I didnt know what to say, do I tell him youre wrong? do I bring honestly frum over? he obviously has the wrong perception about modern orthodox. Modern Orthodoxy is far from watching TV on shabbos, I dont know where he could have came to think this. I figured he just doesnt know what modern orthodox is, he probably meant reform (which wouldnt fit into a good reform kid not watching TV on shabbos because the "good" think its okay to a lot of things, but either way).

I am just posing a question out there, do you think all old rabbis think this way or its just a mistake or a fluke in this one rabbi? Comment what you think or we will never know.

11 people gave their 2 cents:

NonymousG said...

I get the impression on the whole that Rabbonim to not generally acknowledge MO, there is just the question of whether or not you keep halacha.

People who don't learn every spare moment are bound to do other things, and as such probably get bad press. The exception would be Rabbonim who serve MO communities. And these Rabbonim are hardly widely accepted....

Unknown said...

He is right, none of the MO Jews I know watch TV on shabbos. It used to be that what defined a good Modern Orthodox Jew was that he did not watch TV on shabbos. Although that reality has changed the mindset in the charedi world that that is what Modern Orthodoxy is has not changed, for the most part. We in the MO community are seen as being halachik lichatchila. Although that is true about some in our community no consideration is given to we lishma Centrist MOs. I think I'll use this for my post today, Thanks,.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Just as the MO have stereotypes about them, they have stereotypes about the MO.
The MO portray the Chareidim as lazy bums sitting and learning all day while avoiding working to support themselves and looking for every little chumrah to inflict on everyone else. Yes, there is a significant portion of the Chareidi world like this but they are not everyone.
They portray the MO as a bunch of fake frummies who do as little as they can to avoid feeling guilty and look for every leniency so they can get away with anything they want.
So this isn't that suprising.

Mikeinmidwood said...


Why cant we just be jewish?

Honeslty Frum

I'll be waiting for that post.

Garnel Ironheart

You are right its a two way street. But does that make me MO if I work (whether according to chareidim or MO) or am just an exception to chareidim in general?

Shalom, Cherry Hill said...

I don't know how far back the old Rabbi might be going, but having gone to MO yeshivot in Brooklyn from kindergarten in the mid 60's to HS graduation in 78, I didn't know many kids who watched TV on Shabbat. Sure, there were a few kids there whose families weren't Orthodox, and just wanted to avoid public school, but they weren't the norm.

With all due respect, age does not automatically equal wisdom, just as someone who worked in a field for 20 years doesn't necessarily have 20 years of experience--it's often 1 year of experience repeated 20 times.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Mike, Chasidim don't have the kollel-obession that misnagdim do. Most of them work in something or other. Many Litvaks also work.
It's not IF you work. It's WHY your work. If you work because you think there's value in having a job and being gainfully employed, you're MO. If you work because it's a necessary concession but you'd drop it in a heartbeat to go learn full time, then you're Chareidi.
BTW, feel free to visit my blog and comment there.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Mike, it's not IF you work. It's WHY you work.
Many Chareidim have jobs, for example and there are MO kollel guys at YU.
If you work because you think there's innate value in having a job and supporting yourself, then you're approaching it with an MO attitude.
If you work because you have no other choice but given the chance you'd drop it to learn full time, then you're Chareidi.

Anonymous said...

MO people don't watch TV on Shabbos. But baseball playing, yes. I think there is a difference; one is melacha (maybe), the other may not be appropriate for Shabbos but is not violating any melacha.

Mikeinmidwood said...

Shalom In Cherry Hill

I dont need that much respect, by the way I like that one year 20 year line.

Garrnel Ironheart

I was just gonna add you to the blogroll.

Ookamikun said...

At least he didn't say MOs eat pork.

Shalom, Cherry Hill said...

Thanks, Mike,
Feel free to use the line anytime. I read it somewhere, and it stuck.