Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hashkafa Part 2

In my previous post I was talking about trying to define myself and how the two categories I was in between were Modern Orthodox Machmir and Yeshivish/Black Hat. I realized that there was one point I forgot to make, and that is why I was so hesitant to define myself as “Modern Orthodox.” The main reason why I was hesitant is because many people associate “Modern Orthodox” with what is really “Modern Orthodox Liberal.” What’s the difference?

Well, to start with what they have in common:

1. They believe in G-d and that G-d gave us both Torah SheBichtav and Torah Shebaal peh and that Halacha is binding for today. Although we constantly have to apply halacha to new situations that modernity presents, we do not change or allow halacha to evolve, which is what the conservative think. Some people get confused about that last sentence. A practical difference between application and evolving, is application means when electricity was invented we tried to see what Halacha would say about its use on shabbos, evolving means that since they didn’t have electricity, it’s OK to use on shabbos. I think that’s oversimplifying it, and feel free to correct me on this one.

2. They both agree when it comes to the philosophical differences between Modern Orthodox and Yeshivish, which I mentioned in my last post.

The difference between “Modern Orthodox Machmir” and “Modern Orthodox Liberal,” in my opinion, really comes down to a few things which the “Liberal” believe are halachically permitted, while the “Machmir” do not believe those things are permitted:

1. Women wearing pants and short sleeves
2. Women singing in front of men
3. Women covering their hair after marriage (they believe women are not obligated to cover their hair after marriage.)
4. Men and women touching/ Negiah
5. Perhaps more recently- women becoming Rabbis, although this is an extremely controversial topic, and I think it depends on what you mean by Rabbi or “Rabbah” or “Rabanit” or whatever.

Please feel free to differ with me on this, I am quite curious to hear what others think the differences are. Are there differences that I didn’t mention? What do you think the difference is? I think this is much less clear and straightforward as to how to define these categories. What are your thoughts? Again, please feel free to disagree.

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