Author Topic: How do U define yourself, what does it mean & how would you like to see your kid  (Read 3049 times)

Offline ExGingi

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2. What does that mean to me?
The best way I can explain it in short, is that I don't feel the need to listen to halacha. How do I define "halacha"? In this context it means any halacha that I don't think is included in Torah shebiksav. So I guess another label for me would be "someone who is very similar to the tzedokim".

3. How would I like to see my kids?
I would want them to have a very strong belief in Hashem and in תנ"ך. I would want them to have a close relationship with Hashem. And I think "close relationship" is self explanatory but I'll explain what that means to me. It means that you always keep in mind that there's a God and you daven to Him for anything that you feel you want. It means that you thank Him for any small thing that He gives you. It means thanking Him for preventing any damage whether monetary or physical. It means asking for forgiveness for things that you could have done better and didn't (Kal vechomer to wrong things). I think that those 4 things are the basics of how I would define a close relationship.

Though not something I asked in my OP, it is something that some have alluded to, and I would like to ask you (and anyone else who cares to answer the OP, with the addition of this question): What in your background, upbringing, and/or education brought you to define yourself as such?
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Trying to understand your definition of Torah shebicsav here. I’m assuming you have some methodology of interpreting the various parts of Torah Shebicsav that aren’t quite understandable without some sort of method of interpretation- tefillin etc etc unless the idea would be that earlier generations left it to the individual to define it as it meant to them (as opposed to having some sort of understanding that was adopted village/ community wide; something that would obviously have to be shared with the next generation of villagers etc.)

I’m understanding your idea as being that the contrast between the Jews in Tanach and the current lifestyle is so drastic that one must be inauthentic, and being that the former passed through less hands the latter must be an imposter. Does this way of defining yourself also depend on defining Hashem’s role in the world a little different than others would define it? Without putting much thought into it I always took it for granted that anyone who believed in Hashem would comsider it a given that after putting in all that effort to give the Torah, He would want some form of his torah that he communicated to the world to continue to exist and be readily accessible in some format that is acceptable to him. (After all He is omnipotent and can pull this off if He desires.)

Since I am not aware of too many people living the biblical Torah lifestyle, or accessible guides to that lifestyle who can help someone who wants to live with that definition, if that is what one feels  that Hashem desires him to do, what I’m understanding is that the way you define yourself also incorporates a different idea of what Hashem and his giving of the Torah means to you vs. someone who defines themselves as yeshivish etc. Am I getting that right?

Regarding your first paragraph. Yes I do believe there were things that were passed down from generation to generation through word of mouth that wasn't written down. And that to explain certain things (like you said, tefilin), people knew it from what their parents did.

Regarding your second and third paragraphs. I'm understanding that your asking, why isn't everything clearly written down (tefillin and all the other things that aren't written) if there was only supposed to be Torah shebiksav? And based on that question your saying that the way I'm understanding why Hashem gave the Torah is not like regular frum people.

So to answer your question, I don't know why Hashem didn't want to write everything down clearly.

Does that mean I'm understanding the reason why  Hashem gave the Torah differently? I don't know. You tell me. I believe that Hashem gave the Torah to tell us what He wants us to do . So why didn't He write everything? I don't know.

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Though not something I asked in my OP, it is something that some have alluded to, and I would like to ask you (and anyone else who cares to answer the OP, with the addition of this question): What in your background, upbringing, and/or education brought you to define yourself as such?
I'm not understanding your question very well. Everything in my background... brought me to define myself as I do.

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I'm not understanding your question very well. Everything in my background... brought me to define myself as I do.
I believe his intentions were to ask, have you been taught these beliefs you have, and if not what have you been taught etc.
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Offline eyj

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Regarding your first paragraph. Yes I do believe there were things that were passed down from generation to generation through word of mouth that wasn't written down. And that to explain certain things (like you said, tefilin), people knew it from what their parents did.



I guess I was unclear about what you meant when you mentioned your dividing  line as being torah shebicsav. So tefillin were passed down; is the requirement to don them each day, the laws about minute changes in the letters that make them invalid, and the hundreds of other laws traditionally associated with them also part of the Torah shebicsav definition? If shechita was passed down (the Torah mentions it but doesn’t define it) , what about the things that invalidate a shechita or the 24 ailments that make an animal treif? Actually there doesn’t really  seem to be all that much in the Torah that doesn’t rely on a communal tradition in its most basic interpretation (except perhaps an eye for an eye if one would take that literally and perhaps a few other such ideas which I can see as being pretty self explanatory )-even circumcision, to which the oral tradition assigns hundreds of details, yet which is spelled out pretty clearly in torah shebicsav with just a few requirements- yet the Torah doesn’t quite tell you where the procedure is anatomically-. To give a better idea of how you define yourself perhaps you could clarify it a bit more.  Where is the dividing line that would have you consider something to be relegated to torah shebaal peh?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 03:37:49 AM by eyj »

Offline ExGingi

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I believe his intentions were to ask, have you been taught these beliefs you have, and if not what have you been taught etc.
Indeed, I am asking if you were taught this way (though from what it sounds, it doesn't necessarily seem so), and if not what was your upbringing and education, and what brought you to see things differently?
I've been waiting over 5 years with bated breath for someone to say that!
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I guess I was unclear about what you meant when you mentioned your dividing  line as being torah shebicsav. So tefillin were passed down; is the requirement to don them each day, the laws about minute changes in the letters that make them invalid, and the hundreds of other laws traditionally associated with them also part of the Torah shebicsav definition? If shechita was passed down (the Torah mentions it but doesn’t define it) , what about the things that invalidate a shechita or the 24 ailments that make an animal treif? Actually there doesn’t really  seem to be all that much in the Torah that doesn’t rely on a communal tradition in its most basic interpretation (except perhaps an eye for an eye if one would take that literally and perhaps a few other such ideas which I can see as being pretty self explanatory )-even circumcision, to which the oral tradition assigns hundreds of details, yet which is spelled out pretty clearly in torah shebicsav with just a few requirements- yet the Torah doesn’t quite tell you where the procedure is anatomically-. To give a better idea of how you define yourself perhaps you could clarify it a bit more.  Where is the dividing line that would have you consider something to be relegated to torah shebaal peh?
I don't think a dividing line exists that can clearly summarize what I do believe in and what I don't. Or maybe I haven't figured it out. That being said I'll go through your examples and explain each one.
Tefilin being worn everyday? Yes I think it's quite obvious from the Torah alone (without any tradition) that tefilin was supposed to be worn everyday and also all day. The reason why I think so is because the Torah says you should wear it without explaining how long. So my first thought is, since it's a mitzvah that is supposed to be a reminder for something. Most probably it's supposed to be a good reminder, which means being worn all the time. (Does that mean I can't ever take it off? I don't believe so, but that's a different question).

Minor changes in the letters make it invalid? Again I don't think you have to come onto an oral tradition for this. No matter how small the changes in the letters are, it's not the letter. Therefore it's not tefillin. I don't know what you mean by "minor changes" (I'm assuming you mean the crowns on top of certain letters) but regardless I think that my answer would answer that also. It happens to be that I'm not sure if the crowns are included in the letter. But however I would decide, then the above applies.

The hundreds of other laws regarding tefilin? Most probably most of them I don't believe in. But I would have to go through each thing. So I don't know.

Shechita. Things that pasul the shechita. I don't know much about shechita (neither have I thought about it much regarding what's acceptable or not according to my own beliefs) but I do know that a knife that isn't perfectly smooth isn't good. Or if you shecht too much/little it's not either good according to halacha. So that would have to be a part of an oral tradition that I don't necessarily believe in. But I do believe that the only acceptable way to shecht something is using a cutting instrument by the neck. Why do I believe that? Because that's how everyone explains what a korban is and everywhere in Tanach matches that description. Why don't I believe that having a perfectly smooth knife is necessary. Because to me a perfectly smooth knife and a knife that's a tiny bit imperfect does the same thing. So I find it not probable to say that one is good while the other isn't.

24 ailments. Once again, I haven't thought very well about the requirements of shechita according to my own beliefs. I think the word treifah in the Torah means an animal that is on the brink of dying due to another animal mauling it. So that would logically include any other case that is similar. Meaning an animal that will be dying very shortly. So I do agree with the idea of certain illnesses making an animal into the status of a treifah but I don't know if I would include all the cases that halachah says are included.

Circumcision. I don't know all the halachos either. I most probably don't believe in all but I can't say for sure since I don't know. The location of the bris I have no doubt in my mind is the right one. First of all from the fact that it's in that location, is proof that it's right. No one would decide it's there without being 100% sure. And the Arabs also believe it's there so that is also something. Why isn't it stated clearly in the Torah where? I don't know. Maybe for tznius reasons. Or maybe the primary usage of the word "orlah" in those days was used to refer to that area. So maybe it does say it clearly.

And what is included in the bris? I would imagine that Hashem wouldn't want to do any damage that affects function. So that would mean the part that has little use and is considered extra.

So did that help you understand how I understand the Torah and how I define myself? (I feel like I'm going a little off topic)

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Indeed, I am asking if you were taught this way (though from what it sounds, it doesn't necessarily seem so), and if not what was your upbringing and education, and what brought you to see things differently?
I was not brought up this way. I was brought up in a litvishe family.

What made me see things differently? I think I already answered that before when I wrote that I don't see the way of life today the same as how it's depicted in tanach. (Although I don't feel like that is a 100% accurate way of describing my feelings)

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I was not brought up this way. I was brought up in a litvishe family.

What made me see things differently? I think I already answered that before when I wrote that I don't see the way of life today the same as how it's depicted in tanach. (Although I don't feel like that is a 100% accurate way of describing my feelings)
Was the subject of fear of God growing up?
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I was not brought up this way. I was brought up in a litvishe family.

What made me see things differently? I think I already answered that before when I wrote that I don't see the way of life today the same as how it's depicted in tanach. (Although I don't feel like that is a 100% accurate way of describing my feelings)
How did you reach that conclusion?
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Offline eyj

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I don't think a dividing line exists that can clearly summarize what I do believe in and what I don't. Or maybe I haven't figured it out. That being said I'll go through your examples and explain each one.
Tefilin being worn everyday? Yes I think it's quite obvious from the Torah alone (without any tradition) that tefilin was supposed to be worn everyday and also all day. The reason why I think so is because the Torah says you should wear it without explaining how long. So my first thought is, since it's a mitzvah that is supposed to be a reminder for something. Most probably it's supposed to be a good reminder, which means being worn all the time. (Does that mean I can't ever take it off? I don't believe so, but that's a different question).

Minor changes in the letters make it invalid? Again I don't think you have to come onto an oral tradition for this. No matter how small the changes in the letters are, it's not the letter. Therefore it's not tefillin. I don't know what you mean by "minor changes" (I'm assuming you mean the crowns on top of certain letters) but regardless I think that my answer would answer that also. It happens to be that I'm not sure if the crowns are included in the letter. But however I would decide, then the above applies.

The hundreds of other laws regarding tefilin? Most probably most of them I don't believe in. But I would have to go through each thing. So I don't know.

Shechita. Things that pasul the shechita. I don't know much about shechita (neither have I thought about it much regarding what's acceptable or not according to my own beliefs) but I do know that a knife that isn't perfectly smooth isn't good. Or if you shecht too much/little it's not either good according to halacha. So that would have to be a part of an oral tradition that I don't necessarily believe in. But I do believe that the only acceptable way to shecht something is using a cutting instrument by the neck. Why do I believe that? Because that's how everyone explains what a korban is and everywhere in Tanach matches that description. Why don't I believe that having a perfectly smooth knife is necessary. Because to me a perfectly smooth knife and a knife that's a tiny bit imperfect does the same thing. So I find it not probable to say that one is good while the other isn't.

24 ailments. Once again, I haven't thought very well about the requirements of shechita according to my own beliefs. I think the word treifah in the Torah means an animal that is on the brink of dying due to another animal mauling it. So that would logically include any other case that is similar. Meaning an animal that will be dying very shortly. So I do agree with the idea of certain illnesses making an animal into the status of a treifah but I don't know if I would include all the cases that halachah says are included.

Circumcision. I don't know all the halachos either. I most probably don't believe in all but I can't say for sure since I don't know. The location of the bris I have no doubt in my mind is the right one. First of all from the fact that it's in that location, is proof that it's right. No one would decide it's there without being 100% sure. And the Arabs also believe it's there so that is also something. Why isn't it stated clearly in the Torah where? I don't know. Maybe for tznius reasons. Or maybe the primary usage of the word "orlah" in those days was used to refer to that area. So maybe it does say it clearly.

And what is included in the bris? I would imagine that Hashem wouldn't want to do any damage that affects function. So that would mean the part that has little use and is considered extra.

So did that help you understand how I understand the Torah and how I define myself? (I feel like I'm going a little off topic)

Got it. So more of a case by case “feely” kind of thing rather than a thought out religious doctrine that one would be willing to go through hardship for ( as the tzidukim were willing to as evidenced by stories to that effect from the Gemara).

Offline pkmr

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Yes I do believe there were things that were passed down from generation to generation through word of mouth that wasn't written down. And that to explain certain things (like you said, tefilin), people knew it from what their parents did.

Regarding your second and third paragraphs. I'm understanding that your asking, why isn't everything clearly written down (tefillin and all the other things that aren't written) if there was only supposed to be Torah shebiksav? And based on that question your saying that the way I'm understanding why Hashem gave the Torah is not like regular frum people.

So to answer your question, I don't know why Hashem didn't want to write everything down clearly.

Does that mean I'm understanding the reason why  Hashem gave the Torah differently? I don't know. You tell me. I believe that Hashem gave the Torah to tell us what He wants us to do . So why didn't He write everything? I don't know.

Fascinating approach.  I'm also disillusioned with our society and agree with you that we don't look and act the way Hashem intended. But I'm having a hard time understanding your viewpoint. I would appreciate if you could explain your position more clearly.

You're right that Torah sheba'al peh was never supposed to be written down. It was meant, lechatchila, to be passed down ORALLY from generation to generation.
The way I've always understood it, though, nothing new was written down; it was simply a written chronicle of the Oral Law.
As far as I know, the Jews in tanach also followed Torah sheba'al peh. (There are other reasons why we don't look/act like them).

Am I misunderstanding?

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Got it. So more of a case by case “feely” kind of thing rather than a thought out religious doctrine
Bkitzur, nothing to discuss. Next.

Offline ExGingi

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The way I've always understood it, though, nothing new was written down; it was simply a written chronicle of the Oral Law.
As far as I know, the Jews in tanach also followed Torah sheba'al peh. (There are other reasons why we don't look/act like them).

Am I misunderstanding?
Not 100% accurate.

For good reference I recommend reading the Rambam's introduction to his משנה תורה (aka יד החזקה).
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Was the subject of fear of God growing up?
Was it discussed in my house? Not really. In yeshiva? I can't remember anything specifically on the topic of yiras shomayim.

How did you reach that conclusion?
The main thing that comes to my head at the moment is the lack of limud hatorah that's written about.
Bkitzur, nothing to discuss. Next.
I agree. It's going off topic.