Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A new label

Why do we in the Modern Orthodox community have such a deep need for validation from the Charedi community?

So they don’t accept us – big deal! Do you see Reform wringing their hands because of their lack of acceptance by the Yeshivish world? Do you see Conservative lamenting that Rav Shach never saw their movement as valid Judaism?

The problem is that Modern Orthodox and Charedim share a label: “Frum” or “Orthodox”.

I propose the following: Let Charedim call themselves whatever they want, and if we need a label so badly, we can be “Torah U’Mada” Jews, or something like that.

My suggestion is something even simpler: “Hilchati”

“Hilchati” Judaism, Yahadut Hilchatit, or Halakhic Judaism, is simple and to the point, as well as having the additional benefit of borrowing from the title of the Rav’s seminal work, “Ish HaHalacha” or “Halakhik Man”, thus having a built-in connotation to a philosophy that much of the Modern Orthodox world prizes and follows.

Once the label of “Hilchati” is applied, Hilchati & Charedi simply go their separate ways. Cooperate where it’s practical and ignore their rants about us the rest of the time. Rav Elyashiv leads that branch of Judaism, not ours.

I acknowledge that they are Shomer Shabbat & Kashrut, but I have deep problems with their Hashkafa. I nevertheless treat them with respect.

They acknowledge that we are Shomer Shabbat & Kashrut, but they have deep problems with our Hashkafa. I hope that they will nevertheless treat us with respect.

So be it. Simple disengagement will allow Yahadut Hilchatit to grow and flourish without constantly looking over our shoulders to see what Charedim think of us.