Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm trying to be as fair as I can here......

HOW ORTHODOX JUDAISM HELPS YOU

-> It works on you psychologically by making you feel that everything you do you are getting closer to God.

-> Kosher meat is inspected for deformities in the limbs of the animals

-> When you are unemployed, you are still able to maintain a sleep cycle by waking up for shacharit.

-> It keeps your brain active by studying torah and you can get experience working with more than 1 language.

-> It automatically gives you something to accomplish in life by studying as much of the religious texts as possible and thus also a reason to socialize with others in the process.

If I missed anything, feel free to let me know in the comments section.

13 comments:

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

Yeah, you haven't been getting a lot of comments lately, have you?
Listen, as an OJ I can firmly say I don't do the Torah stuff for any of the reasons above although I admit they're advantages.

SJ said...

actually i have been getting comments. -_-

JRKmommy said...

I'm just answering for myself here - as someone who is not haredi or yeshivish (weird MO/Chabad/Iraqi/various other stuff mix). I'm not going to comment on singles stuff too much, since I was in a relationship when I started the move from Conservative to Orthodox.

1. Personally, I need Shabbat. We have the sort of careers that are filled with pressure and people wanting to get a hold of us all the time, and without an iron-clad religious rule against telephones and electronic devices, we would never have a breather. [My husband still gets contacted in cases of pikuach nefesh (life and death situations) and very occasionally I do as well, but this just reinforces to us how necessary the mental break is.] I find it amusing to read stories in the paper about what happens when teens are forced to go 24 hours without texting or tweeting.

2. I like and relate to the idea of a G-d who is more of a concept than a physical being. I think that influences one's world view - it forces more abstract thinking, and a more unified vision of how the world works. It's not about pleasing any particular small power, but about the bigger picture. [I do consider some ideas/practices by some Jews to border on idolatry, including superstitions, segulot, excess veneration of Rebbes and gedolim, and being more concerned about peer/community pressure than following halacha.]

3. I like the idea that there is an ultimate morality for all people which is not relative. I didn't fully appreciate this until I went to university and encountered extreme versions of moral relativism.

4. I like the idea that things beyond the basic universal morality aren't imposed on others outside the religion. I think that provides a basis for tolerance. While I'm willing to talk about Judaism if asked, people appreciate that I don't try to convert them. More than that, I find that, as an observant Jew, am often advocating for the religious rights of others since I have more sensitivity to the issue. I'll argue with child protection workers that a Hindu child shouldn't have to eat beef in foster care, my husband will advocate for Natives to maintain their own spirituality and ceremonies like sweat lodges, my mom will explain to other teachers why Jehovah's Witness kids won't do Halloween activites...

5. I like the idea of a comprehensive set of commandments that talk about our dealings with other people, and not just focusing on worship. I think it's more powerful because it's not just a guideline or societal rule, but an actual commandment.

6. I appreciate and have benefited from reading works dedicated to observance of these particular commandments. The Chofetz Chaim's work on proper speech is a classic example - people may realize that what you say is important, but I don't see the average person REALLY focusing on the issue in a systematic way.

7. I like that some degree of common sense is built into halacha. I don't need to choose between being religious and my life/health. Halacha says that pikuach nefesh is a priority, and also says that you are supposed to go to the doctor, take care of your health, and take practical steps instead of relying on miracles. [Yes, there are some Orthodox Jews who don't do this - but they are wrong.]

more later, gotta do carpool

SJ said...

JRK, firstly this is a thread about orthodox judaism on a pragmatic level, not on a theological or philosophical level. I was tempted to edit out of your post things you bring up that don't deal with the pragmatic aspect. I won't this time, but please stay on topic in the future.

Anyways to respond,

1) I already ceded that shabbat can be of help to 9-5ers. I am not a 9-5r. I work in a varied part time schedule and engage in either rest or spirituality as I need it. I'm not sure I'd call Shabbat a mental break though with the extended davening.

2) Not relevant.

3) Not relevant.

4) Please, let's not discuss orthodox judaism and tolerance in this thread.

5) Not sure if this is pragmatic aspect or philosophical aspect. A bit of both but not directly relevant.

6) Chofetz Chiam can be helpful either to kids or to someone who feels the need for it. P.S. JRK if you follow up bustin my balls about the way I talk on -MY- blog be assured I'll delete the post faster than a New York minute, so don't.

7) To the extent that you describe halacha teaches common sense but I think lots of people in the OTD crowd and myself included would question if 100% of halacha is common sense.

JRKmommy said...

Grrr...just lost a long post.

Here's a summary. Ask if you want more details.

8. Not relevant for you right now, but the best parenting books and advice I've ever had come from frum Jews. See "Raising Roses Among the Thorns".

9. Jewish weddings rock. Even our Asian friends loved dancing to Moshiach.

10. It's inspiring to hear tons of stories about people succeeding against all odds and experiencing miracles, and makes you want to stretch yourself to take on challenges and do more.

11. Forces you to count your blessing and appreciate what you have. No other religion that I know of has a poo-poo prayer. Even taking a dump can be a spiritual experience!

12. Encourages accountability. If you wrong someone, you need to seek their forgiveness. Just confessing to someone else or saying a prayer or having faith in something won't cut it.

13. You're part of a world-wide community. 24 hours after we arrived in Auckland, New Zealand without knowing a soul, we were in someone's home, having seudah shlishit and meeting other families. Employed singles travel, right? Going to the Katmandu seder is on my list of things to do before I die.

14. Better role models for young males, encouraging them to be mentches instead of macho. Bragging about sleeping with tons of girls, getting into fights or joining a gang don't make you cool. Less likely to get an STD, get shot or get arrested as a result.

15. Most Jewish communities have strong community organizations.

16. Keeping kosher means never having to say "tastes like chicken" while eating weird stuff. It's just chicken.

17. Drinking is okay, but not by yourself. As well, it's harder to get violently drunk and go really crazy when you associate the taste of alcohol with family and religious events.

18. Extra media awareness, even if you aren't part of a haredi community. Gets you to really think about the influence of the magazines, music, videos, internet, tv, etc. instead of just being a passive, mindless consumer. It's refreshing to meet people who have no idea who the popular celebrities are.

19. Develops self-discipline.

SJ said...

>> encouraging them to be mentches instead of macho.

Men (and women also for health reasons but particularly men)should be physically strong it's not something that OJ necessarily encourages.

Most of these points are ok. I do think I'm well balanced without outside help though but I'll cede that there's people who these points can be relevant to.

About point 12 sorry orthodox jews has the exact same human failings as the rest of the world. The religion doesn't help.

I would question point 19 with all the religious violence that happened.

JRKmommy said...

Of course, everybody is human. The difference is that the basic religion doesn't let you wiggle out of personal responsibility by letting you think that you can be a Mafia hit man if you tell the priest where you dumped the body, or that your past actions don't count as long as your born again.

SJ said...

That's just media hype in the bible everything gets rewarded and punished for.

SJ said...

JRK you are going off track. I saved your comment and I'll deal with it in an upcoming thread.

ksil said...

SJ, how does it feel to be taken to school? LOL

dimwit

have fun with jesus

JRKmommy said...

Re macho attitudes and physical strength:

Attitudes toward physical fitness vary by the particular community. Mine happens to be pretty fitness-oriented, but I've heard of some haredi yeshivas in Israel that frown on organized sports. Can't comment any more on them since I'm not a part of it.

"Macho" attitudes, though, go WAAAYYY beyond fitness. In general, smart kids in Jewish communities don't live in fear that the other kids are going to kick the sh!t out of them. Kids don't aspire to be crack dealers (read the Freakonomics chapter on this - it talks about how crack dealing was actually a glamour profession in some Chicago housing projects). Getting a girl pregnant out of wedlock isn't something to brag about. Complaining about being ordered to pay child support when you "told the bitch to have an abortion" isn't going to get you much sympathy. Fathers are more likely to be a part of their children's lives. While domestic violence exists, it's not socially acceptable to beat your wife or girlfriend. You don't have gang warfare.

SJ said...

You kinda do have some religious gangs in orthodox society for religious enforcement purposes.

JRKmommy said...

I'm not arguing for Kiryas Yoel or New Square, and haven't heard of religious Jewish gangs on the Upper West Side or in Riverdale.

In any case, while I'm not saying that all Jews are perfect and law-abiding, there's a definite difference in violent crime and gangs even in places where the basic neighborhood is the same, like Crown Heights.