Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jackets to Shul

This morning when I went to minyan, I did not go to one of the shuls I would normally daven at because I needed a minyan at a specific time. There was one minyan at this specific time so I decided to go there. I have heard rumors over the years that in this particular shul you need to wear a jacket to daven. I never really thought about this because I figured this rule was probably only for the Chazzan or anyone who would be getting any honor during the davening such as an aliyah. When I arrived at the shul this morning, I saw a sign on the door that said the Rav requires everyone to wear a jacket to daven. When I got into the shul as I was putting my talis and tefillin on, the Rav of this shul came over to the area where i was and said," Either put on a jacket or find another place to daven". I thought this was pretty rude and out of line. Especially the tone of voice on how this was said. What if a person like me was a guest to this shul and was not so sure about the rules? Would the Rav rather a person not daven in a minyan at all? He could have come over to me and the other people and asked nicely. He also could have thought that maybe people are not aware and if they became aware next time they go to the shul they would wear a jacket. I used to have a lot of respect for this Rav but now I dont know how to feel. I could understand how a Rav wants a certain decorum for his shul. I think that a dress code for a shul might be a little much, especially when your shul is in a neighborhood where people shul hop for minyanim based upon when they can get to shul. I understand that in the Yeshivish world that a hat and jacket is required during davening but some people dont feel comfortable in a hat and jacket. I am of the opinion that a person should feel comfortable in their avodas hashem and I think that comfort includes the clothes a person wants to wear. I see on shabbos in many sefardi shuls people going in jeans. If thats how they feel comfortable why is it a problem. I bet you in a Sefardi shul no one would stare or say anything to the people wearing jeans either. I will try to avoid this shul from now on and I dont know what my feelings for this Rav is going to be from now on.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lies and Deception

I never understood why people have to lie and deceive. Especially if you consider yourself frum. When someone lies and deceives the majority of the time someone is going to end up seriously hurt. It is not ethical to lie and it is not ethical to deceive and it certainly against the Torah and all Jewish principles. There are times according to halacha that it is permissible to tell a lie or deceive but these are only specific times and the result is not going to be someone hurt. If you are an honest person and try to live an ethical life why do people need to take advantage? Why does this happen?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jews and their Interaction with Non-Jews

Today at work, i experienced something which was very weird to me. As someone who came from a pretty secular background, I am comfortable being around non-Jews as well as being friends with many non-Jews. For someone who did not grow up secular but in a closed knit Jewish orthodox neighborhood, interaction with non-Jews rarely occurs and being good friends with a non-Jew is almost never happens.
While speaking with a new co-worker who is not Jewish, a fellow co-worker who is a Chassidic Jew told me that he was going to be flying to the Kever of the Noam Elimelech for his Yarzheit. This non-Jewish co-worker asked me why someone would be going to some town in Europe for only a few days. I explained to her about death in Judaism and how on the anniversary of the death people go to the cemetery to pray by the grave. It was a simple answer to a question this person asked.
Later, a woman who I work with who lives in a Ultra Orthodox enclave started to yell at me in private saying "I can't stand when Frum Jews try to explain things to a Goy". "They don't and can't understand and will use whatever you explain to them against you". I wanna know how can they use an explanation of the Jewish religion against you? If a non-Jew asks a question about your religion, you should ignore them? I just don't understand why there was a need to yell at me and I don't see what harm giving a simple explanation can do. There are plenty of righteous gentiles out there and how do you know the people you are talking to might become a righteous gentile because of the kindness you showed towards them?
I think Charedim should re-think how they interact with non-Jews and realize that many times because of their actions towards them they could be causing a chillul Hashem.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Purim Costumes that Piss Me Off

I think I am a person with a good sense of humor but when it comes to certain things I am very serious. Purim is a joyous holiday and meant to be fun but i think sometimes things are just not funny and pushing it too far. Here are some costumes that I have seen over the years that get me angry. I will start with the one that gets me angry the most.

1- People who dress up like Arabs or Palestinians such as Yassir Arafat, Osama Ben Laden or any other person that would fit into this category. I just don't see the humor in this. Why is this funny? Arafat is a murderer as is Ben Laden. Would someone dress up at Hitler on Purim and walk into a Hungarian Shul in that costume? I don't think so , so why are these costumes acceptable.

2- Yeshivish/Litvish/Misnagdish people who dress like Chassidim. What is funny about that? Are these people jealous that during the year since they dress like goyim on Purim it would be funny to dress like Jews. The way Chassidim dress is funny to them? What about in Shulchan Aruch where is describes how we should wear long coats? Its good to make a joke out of tradition and mock those who want to follow a tradition? Would you ever see a chasid shave his beard on Purim to dress like a misnagid? I don't think so, so why is it ok for them to do?

3- Men dressing like women. I don't find the humor in this. I am pretty sure that halacha does not permit a man to dress in womens clothing as per the Torah and I don't remember seeing an asterisk in the Torah that brings you to the bottom and says excluding Purim. It is especially not funny in America now because people actually cross dress and they are serious about it. Are people who dress like this mocking gays who dress like this? Why is that acceptable.

4- Scary costumes. Many children go to shul on Purim and can get scared of a scary costume. Is it funny and joyous to scare children? I don't think so.

If someone disagrees with me I would love to argue. I could be wrong but I feel pretty strongly about this. There are plenty of happy shatnez free family oriented costumes that are available. If someone is creative they can also create one on there own as well instead of stooping to these levels.