Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Making of a Shell 2

This all begs the question, why do I want to be Chareidi? Is it just because my hubby and I dress the part? Is it because some our friends are? Is it because that's how I started? Is it because of those in Chareidi circles who look with disdain at those who are 'less religious' than they are?

My answer: but before I answer the question. If I dressed the part. Wore the right headcovering, carried the right cell phones, etc. If someone saw me at a distance, they would think I was chareidi. Upon talking to me and realizing I have a computer with internet in the house, etc. They may switch their conclusion and say I wasn't. However, If I did not dress the part. If I wore a tichel (scarf), flowy Bat-Ayin dress, and perhaps carried my baby in a snuggly, at a distance, folks would think I was not chareidi. However, upon talking to me -even if I didn't have a computer w/internet in the house, even if I kept to the most stringent standards of anything -I would not be considered Chareidi!

So, what is it to be Chareidi? Again, please be aware that I am brainstorming at the moment and some questions I don't have answers to yet.

But back to the question, why do I want to be Chareidi? Well, I know that I really appreciate religious living. I want to have and do mitzvot. I am a believer. I believe in Hashem, etc. I appreciate the Chumash (first five books) mostly because the people's lives weren't sugar-coated. They did wrong and it was listed. They did good and that too was listed. Moshe Rabeinu was keepin it real!

But as my first strike, I appreciate secular knowledge. The Vilna Gaon who came up with the Kramer's theory -to me-is inspirational. Math helped me to understand Torah better. (I remember when I was just starting out, I couldn't understand tahor (clean) and tuma (unclean) until I put it into a mathematical context. I imagined that tahor was like an equation with a positive slope. i.e. a line going upwards as if towards life. And, tuma to me was like an equation with a negative slope. i.e. a line going downwards as if towards life lol)

My second strike, is that I am slowly slowly realizing that, although I want to and do dress tzneut, I am really not the 'suit' type. I like to wear a variety of colors and I don't think one should not look elegant. A woman is a woman no matter what.

Among the Chareidim, I have seen rabbis with such love and such understanding towards me and others, its very hard for me to let go. I have I have seen such devotion in trying to do the right thing, that I think its beautiful. Also, I have seen such knowledge --such.....BRAIN EXPANSION lololol I want to, at least hope to, be as smart as some of these folks! Some people really use all of their brain power, physicality, spiritual prowess to be such great servants of Hashem- I only want to hover around their aura all day long! I know that I have gained A LOT in terms of knowledge, character trait, even the way I see things just from these righteous people.

I don't know anyone from other camps like that. The only one maybe, from what I read, is Rav Kook. But I don't know him personally. I wish I did. I am not saying there aren't anybody like what I described above in other camps, just that I haven't seen it.

This is what keeps me in that camp. However, I think I am going to take some steps that I know that will keep my devotion fluid and alive...


YM said...

Bat Ayin is charedi, in a certain sense.

mother in israel said...

In Israel, like everything else in this country, being charedi is all about politics. It's about which rabbis you follow, which schools you send your children to, and whether you are preparing your children to go to the army. How you dress is a function of what the charedi rabbbis are advocating, not what is more tzanua (for instance, they forbid long skirts b/c the women will look like religious zionist settlers). Make no mistake, the religious Zionist community is just as politicized. Whether or not you identify as charedi has nothing to do with your spiritual level and development, only with politics. Good luck.

Tania said...

Happy New Year Miriam!

Batya said...

The outside isn't the inside, and the inside doesn't always show.


Personally, I've found it here in Shiloh. Some people are "more" and some "less," but I feel the shechina and smell the ketoret.

Kylopod said...

Did you consciously choose to be Chareidi? Or did you just practice what you practiced, and "society" labeled you Chareidi? Sometimes it doesn't do good to dwell on labels. I touched on these issues in the following posts:

Miriam said...

Thanks everyone for posting comments. I just need to mull over them.