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March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
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The ‘Nine Questions’

In prayer

Photo Credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90

But even if it were true that many MO Jews do not know the words to that prayer by heart, it says nothing about our Hashkafos. That Bracha has equal value to both Charedim and MO and serious MO Jews do know those words.

2) Why did the MO Siyum have only a trickle of Jews compared to the Agudah Siyum? First of all that wasn’t a Modern Orthodox  Siyum. It was mainly a Siyum by the Left Wing of MO. And it is a tribute to them that they are Machshiv Torah enough to encourage learning all of Shas Bavli and to have their own Siyum.

You also forget that they promoted the Agudah Siyum in their own ads! And you must have missed the Agudah statement that the vast majority of Daf Yomi learners (80%!) are MO.  And the Agudah Siyum had its share of MO in attendance. Not every MO wants to attend more than one Siyum. 5 ½  hours is enough speeches for anyone. Even if many of them were inspiring.

3) MO doesn’t need an Asifa for the internet. We all know what to do. We all realize that there are dangers. This is true of not only MO but of the non-Jewish world as well. But we also realize its value. I’ve written extensively on this subject.

4) How many MO parents want their children to be Rabbis and Mechanchim?  How would I know?

If you are asking whether MO parents value their religious educators, of course they do. I am MO and 2 of my 3 daughters are in Chinuch. My son is a Charedi Posek and gives a Chabura in the Mir. All of my sons in law are Klei Kodesh of one sort or another. That MOs value other fields for their children as well is something to praise, not denigrate.

A good parent of any Hashkafa will want his children to use their God given talents. The problem with you guys is that you think there is only one talent that counts… and therefore discourage them from doing anything else but learn full time. So if one child has a talent for science, he is discouraged from pursuing a field related to it and instead pressured to stay in “learning”. I’ve written about this at great length as well.

5) Why do MOs have a hazy commitment to Torah practices? Again you make assumptions. How many MOs do you know? Have you asked them? Have you taken a poll? Is this only your observation? Or is this merely what you have been fed by your Mechanchim?

Yes, there is laxity by those who I call MO-Lite. And there are a lot of them. But that does not define the MO Hashkafa. Both Right and Left Wing Modern Orthodoxy (RWMO and LWMO) are dedicated to full Mitzvah observance and are just as meticulous as Charedim are.

But let me borrow a page from your playbook: How many Charedim are Charedi-Lite. I have certainly seen my share of black hatters doing the same things as MO-Lites. Only they try and hide it more.

6) University education is important to MO Jews. While I support places like YU and generally discourage the “Ivies”, I understand that there are parents that want top universities for their children because of the opportunities they provide. I have written about this in the past.

That said, there are plenty of good kids in these schools who stay committed to the values of the Torah. In some cases these schools have entire groups of Frum students and live in a self made Orthodox culture of Minyanim and Sedarim.

7) What’s the bigger Nachas for a son – Shas or a professional or academic degree? The answer is Chanoch L’Naar Al Pi Darko. See my response to question 4.

8) Who is the greater hero to MOs – Gedolim or celebrities? Depends if you’re talking serious RWMO, LWMO, or “Lites”. I think you can answer the question yourself. Although even “Lites” would recognize that the Rav is a greater “Hero” than Lady Gaga .

9) While preparing for parnasa is totally respectable, how many MO Jews believe God and bitachon have anything to do with their success as opposed to university admissions offices and other secular factors? Same answer.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


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Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
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