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Halacha-Lite?


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#1 Moshi

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 10:26 AM

There are a lot of people out there who would like to be observant, but find observance too difficult.

For example, they would like to keep THM, but half the month is too long, they would like to keep kosher, but keeping track of multiple sets of dishes is too complicated or makes traveling too hard or would make family gatherings difficult, they would like to daven shacharis but it is too long and difficult for them, they would like to bentch, but they don't have the patience for the long bentching, they would like to keep shabbos and are happy to walk, but there's no eruv, or they are addicted to college football on saturdays...

Basically, there are people who would love to be observant if only it was a little bit easier.

Question:

What is the proper attitude, is it:
-to tell these people "tough luck" and preach to them about how Hashem requires your sacrifices, and that halacha cannot bend to your whims, and so on, in hopes of inspiring these weak-minded folks to eventual full uncompromising observance. And if they don't get inspired to full observance, then they might as well continue in their sinful ways.

-or is it to tell them about the core halachot, "the biggies", and the little halachot that are halachot but not that big a deal, that ideally they should be doing those little things, too, but at least they should be keeping "the biggies"... like the Ner Yisroel rabbi who, according to an h.com report, advised a not-yet-observant couple to keep niddah d'roysa only. To teach them the difference between d'roysa and d'rabanan and minhag/chumra, and say that even if they can't keep all 3 levels, they should make sure they at least keep the d'roysas, which are X, Y, and Z.
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#2 jewess

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:06 AM

something is better than nothing.

#3 Guest_Melech_*

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:07 AM

....

#4 Shoshi

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 11:12 AM

the table with the aroma of tzimmess and brisket wafting in from the kitchen)

I would further add that I'm not sure one needs to prioritize 'biggies' before 'smallies'. For example (and this isn't the best example) wearing a kippah is not an important halachah on the hierarchy of halachot, but it could be v. important in Outreaching since it gets the outreached person to identify with his people.

But really I think that individuals need and respond to different approaches.


As far as I understood it, wearing a kippah at all times is not halacha at all.

#5 velvym

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 04:17 PM

Perhaps a mix between the two, depending on the family or individual. No one becomes frum overnight, and no one can take on everything all at once. This is true of baalei tshuvah and gerim as well. Those who do take on everything at once, and lead an intense life are likely to burn out rather quickly, as they become overwhelmed, or put too much focus on chumros instead of the ikar. I'd say that the second option you listed is much more practical and works well for those who are growing, but at some point (when it is right to do so, as determined by people who are very sensitive in such things) I think that moving toward more of an option 1 approach would be reasonable.
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#6 grend123

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 04:22 PM

like the Ner Yisroel rabbi

Perhaps a NY rabbi did this too, but the famous person to say this was R' Yaakov Kaminetsky.
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#7 FyreByrde

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 04:22 PM

Good question. How about this scenario: I am currently living(very much against my wishes) in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. There is not a single synagogue in sight. I'm possibly the only Jew in my entire neighbourhood. If I were to walk to shul, I would have to start at about 12 noon to make the evening service. (And probably get mugged, raped, and murdered on the way, since the slum-hoods are directly between me and the nearest shul.)
I do not own a vehicle, neither does my mother or husband.

Am I a bad person if I don't go to shul? (OK, all right...let's assume I'm male.)
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#8 velvym

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 05:13 PM

Good question. How about this scenario: I am currently living(very much against my wishes) in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. There is not a single synagogue in sight. I'm possibly the only Jew in my entire neighbourhood. If I were to walk to shul, I would have to start at about 12 noon to make the evening service. (And probably get mugged, raped, and murdered on the way, since the slum-hoods are directly between me and the nearest shul.)
I do not own a vehicle, neither does my mother or husband.

Am I a bad person if I don't go to shul? (OK, all right...let's assume I'm male.)

Well, there are ways around this. However, generally you aren't required (or even permitted) to put yourself in harm's way.
"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center." - Kurt Vonnegut

#9 lyric

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 05:19 PM

I once was teaching a woman in a kiruv program. She told me that she wanted to give up one aveiro a year. No more, no less. She didn't start keeping THM until her third pregnany when she approached me asking me to teach her all the halachos, and even then, she was adament that not sleeping in the same bed as her husband was taking things way too far. She would sleep as far away from him as she could, but that was it.

I could have shouted or told her that her BT was a waste of time, but I didn't. We worked on her one aveiro a year, which equated to her taking on several mitzvos in its stead, and I was happy she started to keep THM even without the harchokos. And I had Rabbinical sanction for this.
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#10 FyreByrde

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 05:57 PM

Well, there are ways around this. However, generally you aren't required (or even permitted) to put yourself in harm's way.

OK, lets remove the "danger" factor, and pretend that there aren't nasty neighbourhoods there. Would I then(provided I am male) have to go to shul?
There is a curse.

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"May you live in Interesting Times."

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#11 velvym

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 06:01 PM

OK, lets remove the "danger" factor, and pretend that there aren't nasty neighbourhoods there. Would I then(provided I am male) have to go to shul?

If you are a man, you should go to shul, yes.
"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center." - Kurt Vonnegut

#12 FyreByrde

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 06:08 PM

If you are a man, you should go to shul, yes.

Despite the proposed six-hour walk? (remembering that public transport is not the best in the world..and doesn't run at night, so morning service is impossible.)
There is a curse.

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"May you live in Interesting Times."

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#13 Kalashnikover_Rebbe

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 06:12 PM

OK, lets remove the "danger" factor, and pretend that there aren't nasty neighbourhoods there. Would I then(provided I am male) have to go to shul?

No, there is a limit of how far you have to walk to go to shul. No one is expected to walk that far even if it is perfectly safe....
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#14 velvym

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 06:13 PM

Despite the proposed six-hour walk? (remembering that public transport is not the best in the world..and doesn't run at night, so morning service is impossible.)

No, but as I said before, there are ways around this.
"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center." - Kurt Vonnegut

#15 Pinchas

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 06:14 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle

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#16 FyreByrde

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 06:56 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle

Great...you've now reduced it to a three-hour ride and the possibility of being run over, since the fastest way is on the freeways.
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#17 Moshi

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 07:13 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle

Bicycles are mutar on Shabbat?
Or is this an example of "halacha-lite"?
The L-rd may not come when you call, but He's always on time. -Lemon Andersen

Kabel et ha-emet mi-mi she-omro.

"All is by the hand of Heaven, except colds and fevers" -Ketubot 30a.

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#18 FyreByrde

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 07:37 PM

Bicycles are mutar on Shabbat?
Or is this an example of "halacha-lite"?

I ain't frum, anyways, though I do try. But if I had a car, yes, I would drive. The nearest synagogue is 30 kilometres away (roughly 14 miles, I think)
There is a curse.

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"May you live in Interesting Times."

~Chinese~

#19 Savannah

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 07:54 PM

No, there is a limit of how far you have to walk to go to shul. No one is expected to walk that far even if it is perfectly safe....

Yep.

https://www.dafdiges...esachim 046.pdf

Effort required to daven with a minyan
R. Avahu said in the name of R. Shimon ben Lakish: In order to procure water for kneading, prayer, and netillas yadayim, one must travel 4 mil…R. Yose the son of R. Chanina said: The aforementioned law applies when one must travel forwards but to go back...he would not even have to go back one mil. R. Acha said: We can learn from this (the phraseology of R. Yose’s statement), that although one does not have to go back an entire mil, he would have to go back less than a mil.

M ishna Brura writes1 that one who is sitting in his home has the status as one who must travel back (i.e. up until one mil). Therefore, one who lives within a mil of a minyan would have to travel to join them. The amount of time it takes to walk a mil is 18 minutes2. We calculate the mil based on time and not on distance3. Therefore, one who travels by car (etc.) would be obligated to travel up to 18 minutes in order to daven with a minyan. This would apply to one who is in his home.

However, one who is traveling and has availability to a minyan ahead of him, would indeed be obligated to travel four mil4 (72 minutes) to join them. One would not be allowed5 to stop over in a hotel if it would cause him to miss this minyan (unless going there would cause him to entirely miss the proper time for davening or by traveling there he would be putting himself in danger6 , for example if there were Arabs7 there, in which this law never applied).

The Mishna Brura8 also adds, “this law is a blatant criticism to those men who have a minyan available in there city and are indolent in joining them for mincha and maariv.”



#20 FyreByrde

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 07:59 PM

Yep.

https://www.dafdiges...esachim 046.pdf

Missed KR's reply. eep!

Thanks! This was helpful. So without a vehicle capable of travelling 30km in under 18minutes, I am allowed to stay at home?
There is a curse.

They Say:

"May you live in Interesting Times."

~Chinese~




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