26 September 2006

Al Chait Shechatanu....



  • This is indeed a serious time of the year. Just because my beliefs have changed does not mean that I am totally dis-engaged from the meaning of the season. Just like on Purim, I'm festive, so now, I do take the time to reflect and think about my accomplishments and shortcomings of my past.

    Here's how I see it.

    Forgive me God for not putting my resources to better use.

    Current use and some alternatives:


  • Daily Shachris - 3 hours per week
    or visiting the sick
  • Daily Shiur - One hour 5 times a week
    or Volunteering for Footsteps
  • Daily Mincha/Maariv - 2 hours per week
    or Neighborhood Crime watch
  • Shabbos - minimum 10 hours per week
    or Walkathon for Heart Disease, etc.
  • Yom Tov – 13 Days per year
    or visit far away relatives
  • Year Learning in Israel
    or year in Peace Corps

Yeshiva Tuition - Annual - Pick an amount. 10,000? 40,000? or Fight Poverty

Other Charity - Annual - Pick an amount 3,000? 20,000? Or donate to American Cancer Society

Extra for Kosher food - Annual - 1000? Or donate to MADD

Miscellaneous, Sukka, Lulov Esrog, Tallis, Tefilin, Mechiras Chomets,etc etc. 1000? Or fight AIDS

Other sins.

  • Not pulling my fair share of the burden at work, because I can't work on Shabbos
  • Not giving my wife much needed comfort during a particular rough childbirth because she was a halachik Niddah
  • Permitting the whole concept to go on generation after generation.

Forgive me God, but I'm an Oines. This is the situation you put me in.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Obviously, this is an exaggeration of what I would do with my resources if I would not be Frum. We don't see most non Frum people volunteering anywhere near that degree.

But look how much time, effort & money we put into Torah and Mitsvos.

Just imagine what a wonderful world this could be if Judaism's unyeilding emphasis would shift to a spirit of volunteering instead of this spirit of endless ritual. BHB

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    79 Comments:

    At September 27, 2006 5:04 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Baal,

    To be fair, some of the most ritualistic groups in Orthodoxy are also among the most charitable. Think Chabad.

     
    At September 27, 2006 5:28 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    OP, charitable? I don't really see Chabad as being Charitable. Maybe you mean hospitable? But then again I don't really know much about them.

    And furthermore, all jews are charitable, certainly with their money, maybe less so with their time. We're all too busy going to shul, saying slichos, Megila, Rosh Chodesh, davening, Yom Kippur, Learning, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

     
    At September 27, 2006 5:32 PM, Anonymous Rachel said...

    I think it is an attrocity to compare religioius activities to what we "could" be doing.

    What we are doing is continuing an important tradition, as well as raising children, fighting anti-semeticism, etc. And to "blame" HaShem is ridiculous. He gives everyone a different kind of responsibility, be lucky that Judaism is what takes up your time and not raising six diseased children Gd-forbid.

     
    At September 27, 2006 5:52 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Rachel, welcome. My point here, is not simply that Judaism takes up my time. My point is that that imagine the impact on the world if Judaism's reason d'etre was charity. Imagine if there two mitsvas in the Torah. 1) Do 20 hours of Public Service each week. This is instead of endless shukkling in shul. 2) Donate 30,000 per year to REAL CHARITY. This is instead of paying tuition for a self perpetuating system of yeshivas.

    What a wonderful world this might be.

     
    At September 27, 2006 6:05 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Baal,

    "OP, charitable? I don't really see Chabad as being Charitable. Maybe you mean hospitable? But then again I don't really know much about them."

    I mean charitable in the wider sense, not necessary that of giving people money. But they're a group who will always help a Jew in need and meet him with a pleasant disposition.

    Granted, their purpose in all of that is largely kiruv based, yet they still maintain what is essentially a global support network for Jews who need a hand.

     
    At September 27, 2006 8:40 PM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

    I like your unconventional thinking. You and I both know its just a fantasy because tradition is what keeps this religion alive... but yes, how it might have been... counterfactual thinking - and it sometimes works against us.

    Gemar Chatima Tova!

     
    At September 27, 2006 9:29 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    FG, I think it always works against us.

    Gmar Tov.

     
    At September 27, 2006 10:32 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    FG,

    "You and I both know its just a fantasy..."

    What exactly do you mean? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't strike me as the skeptical type.

     
    At September 27, 2006 11:42 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    Bhb
    I disagree
    First of all you have many
    bikur cholim and hatzalah volunteers.

    You have tzedaka that helps poor and supported by voluntees.
    Tomchei shabbos, for example.

    These people find the time to do it and work in a Minyan.
    Maybe they watch less tv. Maybe those who don't volunteer watch too much tv.

    Re your point about shabbos, maybe you feel that way, but I've put in long saturday nights into Sunday relieving those who worked shabbos.
    I'm there so they can take off Christmas.

    What about the long hours before a weekend to make sure it goes smooth?

     
    At September 27, 2006 11:47 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

    sounds delusional to me. there are tons of poele who are not "trapped" in a judaism that requires them to spend so much time and money on "ritual".. and you knwo what they do with all their extra time and money? they go clubbing, they go out to eat, they sit on the beach and fry, they go to shrink after shrink, they go to school and better schools and better better schools to get the bestest degrees so they can work in the bestest of the bestest firms and companies so they can make more money and have less time, and so that their kids can have all the time and money in the world to do nothing but be selfish, confused, bored and anxious..
    did it ever occur to you that maybe those "rituals" are what lead us to be so charitable? and if you dont think jews are charitable - on average more charitable than anyone else - that you DO not know the world!

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    BHB,

    Did you perhaps get left behind on Pluto when they declared that its no longer a planet?

    Are you clueless to the thousands and thousands of hours volunteered by the thousands upon thousands of ritual, mitzva doing people??

    To name a few:

    Hatzolah, Chaverim, Bikkur Cholim, Tomchei Shabbos, Free Clothing Gemachs, Interest free Loan Gemachs, Baby Layette Gemachs, Toy Gemachs, Kallah Gemachs, Organizations for Almonos, Yesomim, Poor, Eldery, Open kitchens for the needy, the organization (Mishtatfim?) that provides all the needs for a Beis Ovel (Lo Aleinu), the millions of dollars given out in Tzedaka, the people who give out their houses when they are away to Baalei Simcha, the people who have dedicated rooms for meshulachim, After having a baby, all the neighbors who provide meals and help....

    All done by people who daven more than 5 hours per week etc..

    Have you forgoten that the world stands on three things, not just Torah??

    Avrohom Avinu, the FIRST of the Avos stands for Chesed??

    Have you forgoten the Mitzvos of "Hakim Takim Imo" or "Hashovas Aveidah" or V'ohavto L'ray'acha Komocha" or "Lo Yalin Pe'ulas Sechar Sachir (immediate payment to workers)" and countless others all about making this world a better one?

    Are you so caught up in your skeptisicm that Judaism in your eyes is limited to killing amalek and prosecuting shabbos violaters?

    Put away those evil books, stop parroting the skeptic lines, stop believing all the Loshon Horas spouted all over JBlogs and start experiencing Judaism. Its beautiful. Its one big happy family. Anywhere I go in the world and I see a Kipah, I have met my brother. As a young bochur, I once flew overseas and there was a delay and I missed my connection. A fellow jew who didn't know me from beans invited me to his house, gave me a room and a grand breakfast in the morning and drove me for 20 minutes back to the airport!! All because I'm his jewish 'brother'!!

    posted by "you know who".

     
    At September 28, 2006 9:47 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    Boss, try this:

    Forgive me God, for imagining that I, with my microsopic mind, are smarter than You are.

     
    At September 28, 2006 10:13 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Happy, Anonymookie & "you know who", Sighhhh; You are all missing my point (Amazingly, this happens with many of my posts). I know jews are very charitable with time and especially with money. And that is an outgrowth of some of the basic tenets of original Judaism. I don't know, but I suspect that non religious jews are just as philanthropic as religious jews, if not more. They're just not as myopic as to the benificiaries.

    But see my reply to Rachel above.

    JP, I don't think I'm smarter than God, but I also don't believe God wants us to spend countless hours per week on ritual. But, I guess he told you directly, so you must know.

     
    At September 28, 2006 10:26 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    Boss, God told the prophets and we have a tradition from them.

    But if you're going to make up your own rules, why not devote your life to the welfare of salamanders or the study of asteroids? How bigoted of you to believe that humans have some special importance in the universe!For shame, Boss. How unenlightened and absolutely pre-Copernican! I am really surprised at you.

     
    At September 28, 2006 10:30 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >But if you're going to make up your own rules, why not devote your life to the welfare of salamanders or the study of asteroids? How bigoted of you to believe that humans have some special importance in the universe!For shame, Boss. How unenlightened and absolutely pre-Copernican! I am really surprised at you.

    I guess that's the difference between you and me. If I'd make the rules, weel you see them in my post. I guess if you make them, you're thinking in less humane terms.

     
    At September 28, 2006 10:56 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    Boss, please explain to me rationally and logically: Without Torah why are humans more important than salamanders or asteroids?

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:17 AM, Blogger J said...

    BHB:
    Your post is jarring, but a bit off the mark. You know and I know that the people 'making a difference' in their community are not held back by their religious time and money obligations. It is not a zero sum game. They daven, go to shiur and still find time and money to help the poor, visit the sick, etc.
    I don't know who you are and I certainly don't mean to judge you, but you could definitely find lots of 'chesed' opportunities both in your community and in other communities that you could be doing instead of maintaing this blog. So as they say about glass houses...

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:37 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

    "I don't know, but I suspect that non religious jews are just as philanthropic as religious jews, if not more. "

    you sound like an intelligent guy.. but i would really advise you to go research this, ithink you will be shocked by what you find. i work in this domain and i can guarnatee you that jewish and non jewish philanthropy is nowhere near the same ballpark. im not saying there isnt plenty of charity done in the non jewish world, but proportionally.. you cant even compare.

    i want to tell you another thing tho, ive been thinking about your post, and i think youre right. if you really view all those religious obligaitons as purely ritual, then you really should be spending your time and money helping others and minimizing on the ritual. i consider my hour praying just as valuable and helpful, on a cosmic level, to helping someones medical, social, emotional problems as i do volunteering or donating. if i didnt, and i really thougth i was talking to a wall, i would never spend more than a few minutes on the 'ritual' and the rest on the helping. (truthfully i would drop the ritual, but thats just me..)

    put your money where your mouth is, cut down the ritual to an absolute minimum and use that time and energy to do those things you deem worthy.. if you really mean this post.

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:43 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >Boss, please explain to me rationally and logically: Without Torah why are humans more important than salamanders or asteroids?

    JP, You seem to presume that I'm an Atheist.


    J, I'm glad you found it jarring. Thats is exactly my intent. But again, I re-re-iterate what I stated before. Actually, I'll cut and paste the last paragraphs of my original un-altered post.

    "Obviously, this is an exaggeration of what I would do with my resources if I would not be Frum. We don't see most non Frum people volunteering anywhere near that degree.

    But look how much time, effort & money we put into Torah & Mitsvos.


    Just imagine what a wonderful world this could be if Judaism's unyeilding emphasis would shift to a spirit of volunteering instead of this spirit of endless ritual. BHB "



    My post is not meant to knock Jews nor their high degree of philanthropy. Rather, it is to emphasize the time spent on ritual. Maybe you believe, as I used to, that's it's time well spent. I believe the world would be a better place, if religion had MORE emphasis on Chessed.


    You are 100% correct about putting my BLOG time to better use (see, I'm reasonable). But you do not have any idea about how I *do* put my other time to use. This blog is here simply for the purpose of releasing my frustration of many years of living a double life. I don't plan to make a career out of this.

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:53 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    "JP, You seem to presume that I'm an Atheist."

    I have enough experience on the net not to assume anything about anyone I have not met face to face. All I know is that you have Internet access and understand English.

    Anyway, when you're ready, perhaps you can answer the question: Without Torah why are humans more important than salamanders or asteroids?

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:56 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:14 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Anonymookie,
    >>>"I don't know, but I suspect that non religious jews are just as philanthropic as religious jews, if not more. "

    > i work in this domain and i can guarnatee you that jewish and non jewish philanthropy is nowhere near the same ballpark.


    I noted not *religious* not non-Jewish.

    But it's all besides the main point of my post.

    >put your money where your mouth is, cut down the ritual to an absolute minimum and use that time and energy to do those things you deem worthy..

    Now, you're beginning to get it. That is exactly my Al Chait. I'm stuck in a lifestyle.

    I don't know how young you are but don't be so sure as to what you would do if you went through a change of heart. Life has a way of surprizing you.

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:17 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    JP

    > Anyway, when you're ready, perhaps you can answer the question: Without Torah/God why are humans more important than salamanders or asteroids?


    JP, in due time, if I don't burn out first, I'll get to God issues on my blog, OK?

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:34 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:35 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    This isn't God, it's ethics, which is the topic of this post. You seem to believe that secular ethics are so far superior to Orthodox Jewish ethics. Question is: What is secular ethics?

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:35 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    This isn't God, it's ethics, which is the topic of this post. You seem to believe that secular ethics are so far superior to Orthodox Jewish ethics. Question is: What is secular ethics?

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:45 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    bhb
    the ritual makes us jewish. every other culture has ritual. we admire theirs, yet seem to despise our own.
    "the grass is always greener"

    i think you should not focus on the ritual but what people do with their free time. for ezample, you have people who spend their lives with toy trains. would you tell them stop it and go feed the poor? you can have both.
    i dont think charity (myopic as it is, and for good reason) is sacrificed at the expense of ritual.

    now why the charity is so centered on jews. because we need the help. every other culture understands charity begins at home.
    once we solved our problems, we can solve the worlds. and we are part of the world arent we? so making jews less dependant on the world helps the world resources spent elsewhere.

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:48 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >You seem to believe that secular ethics are so far superior to Orthodox Jewish ethics.

    Who said anything about OJ ethics? I was talking about ritual. You want to hear OJ ethics bashed, go to XGH.

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:50 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Happy,
    >the ritual makes us jewish,

    Yes; but as John Lennon Said,

    "Imagine".

    Imagine, if it was "chessed" that makes us Jewish.

     
    At September 28, 2006 12:54 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    "Imagine, if it was "chessed" that makes us Jewish."

    Seems to me the Chofetz Chaim wrote a book or two about that. He was one of those fanatics like me.

     
    At September 28, 2006 1:07 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >Seems to me the Chofetz Chaim wrote a book or two about that. He was one of those fanatics like me.

    JP, Happy is correct. It IS the ritual that turns you into a yid. And therein lies my problem.

    But if you insist on bringing in Ahavas Chessed;
    How many hours a day to you dedicate to ritual and how many to Chessed?

    And I ask the same question of for a typical Kolel Youngerman.

    You probably spend more hours learning about chessed than doing it.

    But then again, I don't know your personal story, everyone's mileage varies.

     
    At September 28, 2006 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >Rather, it is to emphasize the time spent on ritual. Maybe you believe, as I used to, that's it's time well spent.

    Allow me please, to educate you. There are two types of chessed. The first is the common one, which is helping others in need. The second type, is doing chessed to yourself. What that means, is doing efforts to make yourself a better person. Better people make a better world. For example, if you are a reckless driver who constantly cuts off others, working on your self control will make a better world for others. That is done via doing chessed to yourself - by making yourself a better person.

    And that's what rituals accomplish.

    Not every person wakes up in the morning (Rachmana Litzlon). The first thing we do upon awakening - we express our thanks that we are alive.

    Not eating before davening trains us in self control. We aren't animalistic who lurch at the sight of food. (Which also helps maintaining control of not eating non-kosher - our system is used to self restraint.)

    There are rules how to dress when standing before authority (in shul).

    We express our gratitude before we eat and after.

    When one continues this thought process, one will easily discover a world of ethics and morals hidden in our rituals which at least most of them CAN be utilized to make a better world. If one puts thought as to why he makes a Brocha, its only a baby step away to thank the bank teller for her services.

    Another example: The Halacha not to step back for "Oseh Shalom" when the guy behind you is still davening.

    Does that not teach you about thinking of other people??? So the next time you're on a bus or train, you shouldn't yap away on your cell when your disturbing others??

    And that my friend, is what the Navi (or whoever) cried: "Mitzvas Hashem M'lu'mada". When we "lip service" the rituals, they lose the chashivus. But if we put thought and effort into what we are doing, I can't see a better way, to make earth a better world.

    "You know who".

     
    At September 28, 2006 1:47 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    "You know who",
    Your answer, is the best so far. But it still falls way short. Nothing you stated has much do with with Chessed for others. It has to do with "consideration for others" otherwise known as common courtesy. And orthodox people fail miserably in this respect. I don't even need to spell it out. Yeshiva Boys (not Kolel) are among the worst offenders. The Bastions of Frumkeit in America, Boro Park and Monsey, well, lets not even go there.

    Is the Frum Oilam getting better? Yes, I think so. But that is due to specific efforts to express common courtesy. It is "not" automaticaly coming from the ritual. You want to read that into the ritual? Very nice. But there's nothing in spending three hours per week davening and six hours on learning that is Chessed. Once again, you want to believe you're moving spiritual worlds when we pray and learn, I can't prove you wrong.

    Close your eyes. Imagine a Mattan Torah, with all the Kuzari proofs. Imagine God gave one single commandent. You should give Maaser of your time; 2.4 hours each day should be devoted to public service. Shisha Sidra Mishne dealt will all differnt areas of Chessed. The Gemora, expounded upon it. Rishonim, Achronim and the Nosei Kelim were all about Chessed and nothing else.

    That would be an interesting world.

    For you guys, that's what I'm saying. Just simply "imagine".

     
    At September 28, 2006 2:30 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

    "I don't know how young you are but don't be so sure as to what you would do if you went through a change of heart. Life has a way of surprizing you."

    been there, done that..

    but for the record i wasnt saying, drop the whole religious thing and join the peace corps..
    i said.. drop the extraneous ritual and donate to one of those causes.. (ex: spend the absolute minimum on an etrog so no one suspects, and donate the rest for aids research)

     
    At September 28, 2006 2:43 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    Personally, ritual, about 15 hours a week. Chessed, about 35 - I am working to support my family. The war on poverty, you know.

     
    At September 28, 2006 2:49 PM, Anonymous Jewish skeptic said...

    >"Shabbos - minimum 10 hours per week"

    Is this just for davening & learning? Then you must be a groiser tsadik! Or do those 10hrs include meals,taking a walk ,a nap & d'vorim sh'beino u'veinoh?

     
    At September 28, 2006 3:07 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > ex: spend the absolute minimum on an etrog so no one suspects, and donate the rest for aids research)

    Anonymookie,

    Been there - done that ;)

    >Personally, ritual, about 15 hours a week. Chessed, about 35 - I am working to support my family. The war on poverty, you know.


    JP, I guess when you say Charity begins at the home, do you also means it ends at the home? I'm not faulting you, just pointing out that between the necessities of life and ritual, (and a little blogging here & there), there ain't time for much else. A pity. So just close your eyes and imagine, what if.





    JS, LOL. Even way back, I was never a Groiser Tsaddik.

    But actually, thinking about it, Shabbos ritual, including lengthy seudos can easily be 8 hours. And that's not even counting the "Tish" if you're so inclined.

     
    At September 28, 2006 4:10 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    BHB, DONT LET THE VOICES OF DISSENT SCARE YOU. I AGREE WITH YOU. We can spend endless hours on Davening, learning, saying Tehillim and thinking about halacha and how to break it or not break it. It doesn"t do a damn thing to make the world a better place. Many Jews think holy thoughts and therefore we think that we are holy. Every other word that some Jews utter has Boruch Hashem or Chas Vesholom in it, like that makes us any better then anyone else. True, Jewish money should go to Jews first but there are plenty of other good things that we can do for the world.God knows that the world needs all the help it can get.

     
    At September 28, 2006 5:03 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Avi,
    Chas Veshalom, I should let them intimidate me. And Boruch Hashem, at least a few of you agree with me. ;)

     
    At September 28, 2006 5:12 PM, Anonymous Rachel said...

    BHB, I understand a bit better, thank you. I just get a bit defensive...as the Torah and our Mitzvot are what set us apart!

    Oh, and a bit of info to quell your desire for Jewish tzedokah to heal the world at large: I used to work at the UJ in LA. 60% of the funds collected actually helped non-Jews. So, in effect, the money thta Jews do give does have an effect on the outside world...we don't help just our own!

     
    At September 28, 2006 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Not giving my wife much needed comfort during a particular rough childbirth because she was a halachik Niddah

     
    At September 28, 2006 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Not giving my wife much needed comfort during a particular rough childbirth because she was a halachik Niddah

    been there, done that

    cruelest thing i have ever done

     
    At September 28, 2006 5:56 PM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    BHB,

    OK, please forgive my bluntness, but this time you've gone over the deep end.
    I know MANY frum people who keep all the mitzvos and still find time to volunteer/give to charity/help their wives.

    And why would you help all the "goyish" causes and not your brothers? and of all things AIDS??!!??
    Of the billions collected by the Salvation Amry, how much of it goes to Jewish causes? Never mind frum ones. Same is true of United Way, unless one specifies one of their "qualified" organizations. And as noted by a previous poster, All of these "charities" take a huge chunk out for "administrative" costs. What percent of donations does Tomche Shabbos take for administrative costs? ZERO!

    >Obviously, this is an exaggeration of what I would do
    Come on BHB, you can do better.

     
    At September 28, 2006 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >Your answer, is the best so far. But it still falls way short. Nothing you stated has much do with with Chessed for others.

    I wrote you above a whole list of Chassodim that's done by Klal Yisroel.

    Rutuals are rituals and Chesed is Chesed. But just like "Talmud May'vee Li'day Maaseh", rituals bring to Chesed.

    Olam Chesed Yiboneh.

    Ever built a house?

    First you need an ARCHITECT to draw the BLUEPRINTS. You need a BUILDER to coordinate everything. The MASON lays the FOOTING and FOUNDATION. Then you need the FRAMERS, ROOFERS, PLUMBERS, ELECTRICIANS, KITCHEN, TILE, CARPET, FLOORING, TRIMMINGS, SHEETROCK, PAINTING GUYS...

    Some observations: Everyone MUST follow the blueprint. One beam a half inch out of place and the kitchen won't fit.

    Everything must be in sequence. If the sheetrock goes on before the piping, Uh Oh...

    Further, XYZ on the blueprint may be meaningless to the plumber, but crucial to the electrician. ABC may be crucial to both, but meaningless to the roofer.

    But there are commonsies. Everyone uses a hammer and screwdriver. Some more some less.

    Now, why the hassle with so many crews? Why not have one crew which does it all? Because then you'll have a little expertise on everything. By taking an expert in each field, you'll have quality workmanship.

    The Torah is our blueprint. To build our Olam Hachesed, we must precisely follow the blueprint. There are experts on Torah, experts on Avodah and experts on Chesed.

    There are commonsies. The hammers. Basic Torah, Chesed and Tefilah. But some experts require one more than the others. Some parts of Torah which aren't understood to some, are crucial instructions to others.

    A yeshiva bochurs is the framer, the Baalas chesed the painter etc. All are needed. Each are experts in their field. When we combine them, we have a beautiful house. But only, when they all followed the blueprint. If everyone did only chesed, it would be like building a house with only masons. But on the flip side, a house without a foundation will collapse.

    "You know who".

     
    At September 28, 2006 6:36 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Rachel,
    >BHB, I understand a bit better, thank you.

    Thank YOU!

    > I just get a bit defensive...as the Torah and our Mitzvot are what set us apart!

    Understandable.

    > Oh, and a bit of info to quell your desire for Jewish tzedokah to heal the world at large: I used to work at the UJ in LA. 60% of the funds collected actually helped non-Jews. So, in effect, the money thta Jews do give does have an effect on the outside world...we don't help just our own!

    Again, my purpose in this post was not to encourage people to donate to non jews. I do firmly believe our charity should go primarily to jews, with the understanding though that world wide cause, such as Cancer, Madd, etc also deserve some attention. Read my post in the spirit of "imagine".

    ***********************************
    Anonymous, I still cringe at my recollection of that event.


    ***********************************
    Moshe K, relax. Please read all my responses to others. When you've read them, please restate your concerns.

    But let me address one issue of yours. Firstly, when I responded to anonymookie "been there done that", implying that that I reduced my Esrog costs and donated to Aids, those were not literal. It's the spirit of Tikkun Olam that I'm talking about. Furthermore, in reality, from my recent reading of genetics and other diciplines, we better start caring about Aids and other kinds of infectious diseases. We jews are not exempt.

    And lastly, welcome back.

     
    At September 28, 2006 7:32 PM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    >We jews are not exempt.
    Hashem y'rachem!

    >welcome back.
    Thanks.
    I can only take small doses, I'm trying to get "on the wagon". LOL

     
    At September 28, 2006 7:47 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

    Very interesting twist on things. Great blog glad I found it.

     
    At September 28, 2006 8:20 PM, Anonymous gabbyhays said...

    chesed is nice but tzedek is nicer.

     
    At September 28, 2006 9:39 PM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

    Ortho, I am an idealist. However the type or worship that BHB describes is a fantasy in the orthodox world. Its nice to dream every so often. BHB dreaming isnt always a deterrant. Just dream in small quantities.

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:23 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    You know who,

    >"You know who",
    Your answer, is the best so far. But it still falls way short. Nothing you stated has much do with with Chessed for

    The above was in reply to your 12:23 PM post, not your 1 Am post.
    In the 12:23 post, you were saying that Mitsvos leads to XYZ, but that XYZ was Mentchlechkeit not chesed. I had already replied earlier to your 1 AM post.

    Now, you're coming with a brand new cheshbon.

    >Some observations: Everyone MUST follow the blueprint. One beam a half inch out of place and the kitchen won't fit.

    How come my contractor didn't know that?

    serioulsy, you build the house, put in a foundation, plumbing, electric, spackle, etc, etc. But then you move an and utilize the house. Sure there's some maintenance. but not all day! And besides remember this - "Imagine"


    Analagies, analogies, but imperfect. You compare it to b

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:24 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Ignore last line of previous comment.

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:25 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >>We jews are not exempt.
    Hashem y'rachem!

    MK,

    I didn't say STD's. I said infectious diseases. Chill out.

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:26 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Social Worker/Frustrated Mom,

    Welcome and thanks for your kind words. (see you sound like a social worker, starting out with kind words).

     
    At September 28, 2006 11:27 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >gabbyhays said...
    chesed is nice but tzedek is nicer.

    Gabbyhays, welcome.

    Tzedek or tsedaka?

    But either way, read the comments - and "imagine".

     
    At September 29, 2006 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >Now, you're coming with a brand new cheshbon.

    I intend on using whatever it takes to convince you :)

    >How come my contractor didn't know that?

    That's what happens when you try to save a couple bucks :)

    >serioulsy, you build the house, put in a foundation, plumbing, electric, spackle, etc, etc. But then you move an and utilize the house. Sure there's some maintenance. but not all day!

    Your right. But the 'world' we are 'building' will only be completed when we are zoche to have the shechina between us in the 'Bayis Shlishi'.

    So unfortunately, we are still in the building process, and therefore, we have to keep on building via Torah, Avoda and Chesed.

    Chesed alone is not enough. As I said, its a foundation which we can't do without, but there's more to a house than just the foundation.

    "You know who".

     
    At September 29, 2006 1:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >>And that's what rituals accomplish.<<

    But BHB isn't complaining about rituals in general. He's complaining about the time spent on following Orthodox rituals. Just look at the davening for example. If the point is to make us better people, why do we need to spend so much time davening musaf, when we could just leave it at Shacharis? Why not shorten the service by reciting the Torah in a 3 year cycle rather than a 1 year cycle? Why do we need to say the kidushah? Why do we need to say minchah and maariv, when we ought be able to say just one? That seems to me to be the kind of thing BHB is talking about, although maybe not those specifics.




    >>But the 'world' we are 'building' will only be completed when we are zoche to have the shechina between us in the 'Bayis Shlishi'.<<

    You mean we should do all this so that some day we can have a restoration of the animal sacrifices, and a priestly class, with three trips to Jerusalem every year, whether we want to or not?
    And when that happens we don't even get to vote on our laws.

    >>The Torah is our blueprint. To build our Olam Hachesed, we must precisely follow the blueprint<<

    Then you have to say that Torah (or Gemarah) ethics are superior to any system of ethics we can devise on our own. If you are going to do that you really have your work cut out for you.

    Another anon

     
    At September 29, 2006 7:14 AM, Blogger Frummer????? said...

    Oy Vey. Somebody is in a very negative mood.

    "Not pulling my fair share of the burden at work, because I can't work on Shabbos"

    Hey! You are lucky to have that day off!!!!!! Woudl you prefer to go to work??

    "Not giving my wife much needed comfort during a particular rough childbirth because she was a halachik Niddah"

    You can still be there for her, at her bedside, giving her moral support. She will apreciate it. Just don't look where you are not supposed to so that you dont get aroused. Not that it is likley to happen, because for most men, it is the toughest thing in the world to watch their loved one in so much pain and they can do nothing to help. Even if they could hold their wife's hand, it would still hurt just as much.

    "Permitting the whole concept to go on generation after generation."

    That I do agree with. The negative way our religion has been presented to you, and to me too, must be stopped.

     
    At September 29, 2006 9:16 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Frummer. I'm not sure if you miss the gist of my post, or what. First check out my prior posts; Dai L'chakima B'remeeza. Then we'll talk.

    >. Not that it is likley to happen, because for most men, it is the toughest thing in the world to watch their loved one in so much pain and they can do nothing to help.

    Just an aside, do you think most men would get aroused from watching any woman, even not their own wife, give birth?

    And welcome from over the pond.

     
    At September 29, 2006 9:52 AM, Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

    Great post! Great blog! I added you to my links! Gmar Chasima Tova!

     
    At September 29, 2006 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >But BHB isn't complaining about rituals in general. He's complaining about the time spent on following Orthodox rituals. Just look at the davening for example. If the point is to make us better people, why do we need to spend so much time davening musaf, when we could just leave it at Shacharis? Why not shorten the service by reciting the Torah in a 3 year cycle rather than a 1 year cycle? Why do we need to say the kidushah? Why do we need to say minchah and maariv, when we ought be able to say just one? That seems to me to be the kind of thing BHB is talking about, although maybe not those specifics.

    You sound like the farmer attending a city hall concert asking: Why do the musicians have to read all those fat books?

    Learn how to read them buddy. You'll be singing a different tune (and 'on tune' also).

    >You mean we should do all this so that some day we can have a restoration of the animal sacrifices, and a priestly class, with three trips to Jerusalem every year, whether we want to or not?

    Oy, Tateh in himmel, the Golus is so bitter, your kinderlach have no clue of the glory they are lacking.

    >And when that happens we don't even get to vote on our laws.

    Oy Oy. Nebech.

    >Then you have to say that Torah (or Gemarah) ethics are superior to any system of ethics we can devise on our own. If you are going to do that you really have your work cut out for you.

    My work was all already cut out by the greatest Torah minds of all time. Its up to you to put aside your american liberal bias and start connecting with your neshoma.

     
    At September 29, 2006 12:50 PM, Anonymous gabbyhays said...

    we are so involved with chesed (charity, lifnim meshurat hadin) but we don't give a damn about tzedek (justice, yoisher). tzedaka is a misnomer.

     
    At September 29, 2006 12:59 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    OK, Gabby, I get your point. You're sounding like a Nuhvie (prophet). I like that.

    Ok, three commandments

    1) Tithe your Money
    2) Tithe your Time
    3) Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof.
    Never mind. Make that "Tzedek Tirdof". If we start with the extra drushos, we'll never get finished.

    "Imagine"

     
    At September 30, 2006 9:46 AM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    BHB: I hear you.

    I think it's a question of focus. There's no need to drop the rituals. But maybe if Judaism lost the "keeping up with the Joneses" aspect we could be more chessed oriented. I'm talking about not getting a ridiculously expensive etrog, being a bit more of an am haaretz and learning a little less, losing the commercial side of kashrut (water does NOT need a hechsher). People don't just keep halacha, they use chumras to show how good they are. Humanitarianism and the environment should be more important that that.

    A side point:

    > Not giving my wife much needed comfort during a particular rough childbirth because she was a halachik Niddah

    We made an executive decision that we weren't keeping niddah during childbirth. We informed my mother (who was going to be there too) so she wouldn't get shocked. She understood 100%. I'm so glad we talked about it beforehand because my labor was traumatic to say the least and I just might have throttled him without his physical support. After I went to the mikveh of course.

     
    At September 30, 2006 10:39 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    BJ, my post really is addressing something totally different. Read all the commenets, if you haven't yet. It's really an "imagine" post of what religion *could* accomplish. It's also a guilt post for people like me who spend an enormous amount of time on ritual that we don't believe in. Women don't spend nearly as much as men. (I think).

    .



    BHB

     
    At September 30, 2006 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Anonymous 12:46

    That's what you call a response to my points? If you want to convince people, stop with this yeshivish sarcasm.

    Another anon

     
    At September 30, 2006 11:04 PM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    BHB: I do know what you mean.

    What I mean is that the ritual doesn't have to be so all-encompassing and can still be valid.
    But I do think your post has more vision. What I'm saying is much more of a compromise. Which might not be such a good thing.

     
    At September 30, 2006 11:17 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Another Anon, haha. I was thinking alomg similiar lines. You asked pointed questions and you get a Mussar Shmooz in response. Also, those childish analogies don't earn any points either.

     
    At October 01, 2006 1:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    BHB,

    To get back to your original point, actually I think you were underestimating the time. 2 hours a week for mincha and maariv? I've been to a shul where their practice was to daven mincha, then learn for 35-45 minutes and then daven maariv. Count the time going to and from shul and you're close to 2 hours for just that night alone. (This must do wonders for domestic life.)

    And then how about the money spent going to a hotel for Pesach? Or the time to clean the house for Pesach, to build a Sukkah,to stay up all night on Shavuous, to go to a mikvah, to say selichos, tehilim, hoshanos, etc., and the time you spend worrying that you might not have not have done something just right.

    It mounts up.

    As for the post I was responding to, it seems to me that what he was saying was "don't even raise the question." If that's the response, then maybe it's because the problem is with the answer.

    Another anon

     
    At October 01, 2006 1:14 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    AA, certainly the time and money are underestimated. Theres no end to it. Hatoras nedorim, Hoshana Raba, Mechiras Chomets, Bediaks Chometz, Burning Chomets, Seder night, Megilas ester, Kinos on Tisha Bav, Lail Shvuos, Tikkun Chatsos (?) Shir Hashirim, Maavir Sedra. and they're starting to add new ones. 3 kappitach tehillim every day, 5 minute a day Praying with fire, 5 minute a day Chofetz Chaim, Dial-A-Shiur. It's endless and getting worse.

    >and the time you spend worrying that you might not have not have done something just right.

     
    At October 03, 2006 11:19 AM, Blogger Frummer????? said...

    "Just an aside, do you think most men would get aroused from watching any woman, even not their own wife, give birth?"

    ??????

    There are times during the birth where there is no "birthing" going on, and nothing happening to put anybody off any thoughts!

    "Dai L'chakima B'remeeza. Then we'll talk."

    I don't understand you.

    Welcome to blogvelt!

     
    At October 03, 2006 11:34 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Frummer, thanks for the welcome. What I meant is that from the tenor of your comments it was not apparent to me that you realized that I am what is known as a skeptic.

    I guess that was naive of me.

    So lets just discuss your first statement about the day off. Do I want a day off? Sure? But when there are important things going on at work, and people must cover for me and I can't participate, I feel bad. I always did and moreso even now. They think I'm can't roll up my sleeves because I'm such a spiritual individual but really I'm off because I'm not man enough to act the way I feel.

    Al Chait Shechatanu L'funecha.

     
    At October 03, 2006 11:51 AM, Blogger Frummer????? said...

    "They think I'm can't roll up my sleeves because I'm such a spiritual individual but really I'm off because I'm not man enough to act the way I feel."

    Whilst the first part of that sentance is true, the second most certainly isn't.

    The reason you act the way you do is not becuase you "are not man enough" to act differently. You are being unkind to yourself. It is because you belong to a society which expects you to act in a certain way. You do not wish to throw away the life you have been living thrse past xx years, and you therefore remain as you are and act the part of a believer.

    But you are not being a hypocrite. You are merely keeping what you have.

    BTW, it feels so weird to be commenting on a post which has been superseded by a fresh one!!!

     
    At October 03, 2006 1:51 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >But you are not being a hypocrite. You are merely keeping what you have.

    so the difference between a hypocrite and not is just in the reason for portraying a facade? Hmm. I like that.

    > BTW, it feels so weird to be commenting on a post which has
    been superseded by a fresh one!!!

    NOt a problem, on some blogs you see four active threads.

     
    At October 03, 2006 6:08 PM, Blogger Frummer????? said...

    "so the difference between a hypocrite and not is just in the reason for portraying a facade?"

    Definition of hypocite:
    (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=hypocrite)

    hypocrite, dissembler, dissimulator, phony, phoney, pretender (a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives (my italics))

    "NOt a problem, on some blogs you see four active threads."

    Only on the dailies such as DovBear et al.

     
    At October 03, 2006 9:14 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Frummer, I must be hitting the big time, I had three active posts today,.

     
    At October 04, 2006 2:35 PM, Blogger B. Spinoza said...

    BH,

    now that GH is no longer really posting someone has to fill the void

     
    At October 04, 2006 3:53 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Baruch, (If I may you call you by your first name).

    Oy vey. I'm certainly not the one to fill GH's shoes. He's always debating the issues (which helped solidify my position), but I'm looking to discuss emotional issues, etc.
    Besides, I'm nowhere as prolific or eloquent as others. I was thinking of maybe setting up a consortium. Interested? (But I'm also ready to take a break. It's very stressful.)

     
    At October 04, 2006 5:21 PM, Blogger B. Spinoza said...

    >I was thinking of maybe setting up a consortium. Interested?

    thanks, but I think I spend too much time as it is commenting on various blogs

     
    At October 04, 2006 11:42 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    B, I know the feeling.

     

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