Friday, December 01, 2006

Frumkeit and Frum Culture - The Great Misconception

I'm reprinting this from my old blog..because I think it really helps explain most of the issues that are discussed on blogs lately..

There is this great misconception about our society.
This misconception is both false and harmful and it has led many off the derech.
Have you ever asked yourself ...How can a frum person do that?
How can a frum person behave that way?

Then you are under this false impression as well.

Frumism (anyone else have a better term?) is not a religion.. it’s a culture.
It is a culture that incubates a religion.
We dress a certain way, we listen to our own music, we have our own lingo, and we teach a certain lifestyle but we can’t force thousands of people to think a certain way and to believe in certain things.

Religion is strictly between God and the individual.

It just so happens to be..that of all the cultures in the world, it’s easiest to practice Frum Judaism in this Frum culture.

After all, they share so many similarities. This culture has you going to shul anyhow ...and it has you refraining from work on Shabbos anyhow...

But ultimately it’s up to all individuals to decide whether or not they choose to do so. Sometimes a person will go through the motions and go daven for an entire year and will only have kavannah once or twice. There’s the example of how the culture is an incubator for the religion. In order for our religion to survive in America a Culture had to be created to surround it. To keep us going through the motions during our weak moments and generational lapses.

However our Education System does not focus enough on the individual, on every persons relationship with Hashem as an individual..and instead it allows us a glimpse of Hashem through the prism of the community. This is something that I believe should change..

If one realizes this he will not become disoriented by “Frum” Jews not utilizing their personal choice of tapping into the Religion within.



Blogger Independent Frum Thinker said...

Well said.

Here is a related point.

A person was once woken up in the middle of the night by the police. They claimed that the local bank was fooled into accepting counterfeit money, and therefore anyone who withdrew money that day must hand it in, before the fake money gets into circulation. After taking the money, they handed him a note to bring to the bank the next day, to accept reimbursement for the counterfeit money the bank had given him.
The next day he presented the bank with the note, but they refused to give him the money. They proved that the whole thing was a hoax perpetrated by individuals dressed as police officers as a ruse to get his money.
The man howled with rage, shouting invectives about the police, until someone stopped him and said; it wasn’t the police who hurt you, rather people dressed as police.
The same thing applies here. If someone sees or hears a Frum person commit a severe sin, there is no use complaining about Frum people, that person simply wasn’t Frum but was just dressed up as such.

December 01, 2006 2:37 PM  
Blogger Moiy-rah said...

old blog

someone COMPLETELY missed the point


-the blogger who ALWAYS misses the point

December 01, 2006 2:42 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

isnt that a Dr Seuss book..old blog new blog?
dont be so hard on urself..while u might miss the point...i do too..and ur comments on Parent Propaganda post..were indespensible..

December 01, 2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Great parable..thanks

December 01, 2006 3:13 PM  
Blogger chaverah said...

david, looks like you are getting very tired of all the religious bashing. one point you made very well, the education system does not show us the true light of judiasm. How we should love it chersih it and how each one should try to have a "relationship" with god in there own way. good point.

December 01, 2006 3:38 PM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

'However our Education System does not focus enough on the individual, on every persons relationship with Hashem as an individual..and instead it allows us a glimpse of Hashem through the prism of the community. This is something that I believe should change..'

OH YES!!!!!!

December 01, 2006 3:50 PM  
Blogger yingerman said...

Ah I love the old time values.
A word of caution though.
When you say "Religion is strictly between God and the individual"
Its very similiar to the reform credo.
Also early zionist leaders also used an expression like that, that the newbies dont need to wear a kipa or tzitzis, no need to davin or keep shabbos. Those are frumie things, here you dont need those diaspora external signs, Here the land is holy enough.
Sadly hundreds took their word for it.

December 03, 2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

you bet..because all the bashing is based on this fundamental flaw..


just because that line is similar to Reform doesn't make it the same beast. I'm not saying that anything is changing...but religion has always been between man and God...when has it not?

December 03, 2006 3:31 PM  
Blogger anonym00kie said...

i love this
my rabbi used to call it frumkeit and yiddishkeit, i dont know the exact definition of those words but basically his point was, stop focusing on frumkeit, on the whole culture, and focus on the yiddishkeit, the connection to hashem.
now, of course hes 100% part of that culture and would never tell anyone not to be, but his lesson was that our focus should be the relationship with hashem.. and the culture nothing more than a tool to get us there. when it starts to pull us away from our goal, its pointless; and when some poele make it their entire judaims, then they really missed the point.

December 03, 2006 7:51 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Great pic of that painting, perfect for the post. Good points!

December 03, 2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger Allie said...

I recently stumbled across this blog, and I'm glad that I did. You discuss pertinent issues in a very eloquent way (are you sure you're from Lakewood?;).
I want to add something to this point - it really irks me how so many "frum" people make fun of anyone who "just doesn't get it" - "it" being the yeshivish shtik. Someone who might say Rabbi instead of Rav, wear a black hat that's not in style... It sounds ridiculous, I know, but is, as Metallica says, sad but true.
These uncool people are called Harry's, as I have been fortunate to learn. As in, "He's such a Harry, he wears his tzitzis out, but he's wearing jeans." I guess he just doesn't get it...
It's like that old poem about if Mashiach came, but he was wearing a kipa sruga. Really though, who can blame anyone for not accepting him. Would you want a Harry as Mashiach?

December 03, 2006 10:42 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

sounds like a smart man...
yes the culture is needed...the religion could never survive without...


allie..i know...thats the bad part of the "culture"...

December 04, 2006 5:09 PM  
Blogger megapixel said...

great point!!
many evenings i go for a 2 mile walk. I do not worry about going out alone late at night cuz i am walking through a jewish neighborhood. this is also a result of the frum culture we have built around us. Thank GD.

December 04, 2006 11:52 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

good point..that could be a combination of culture and religion..

December 05, 2006 12:43 PM  
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