web analytics
March 27, 2015 / 7 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Letters To The Editor

Letters-logo

Since I imagine that the answer to these questions is “not many,” I respectfully suggest that the voting public ignore how many “names” are affixed to flyers and advertisements, and instead judge candidates on their own merits.

Moishe Mark Halberstam, Esq.
(Via E-Mail)

Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss Responds To Reader Harold Marks

Dear Harold,

Thank you for your probing letter in the Nov. 8 issue regarding my Nov. 1 column “Thou Shalt Not Be Different.” As you correctly pointed out, there are some subtle – and some not so subtle – distinctions concerning when being different is called for and when it should be avoided.

As you illustrate in your story about Rav Pam, we certainly are advised by the Torah to be different from many of the gentile norms. As the pasuk teaches, We are a nation that dwells apart.

I am certainly not advocating wearing a miniskirt if everyone else does, nor am I recommending using foul language in a vulgar office environment where such language is used. You ask (tongue in cheek, I hope) whether I would advocate using a tongue ring if everyone around me does so. Certainly not, but I would consider relocating from such an environment. As the Rambam says, a person is greatly influenced by the environment in which he lives.

You raise another delicate issue. Avraham Avinu was the essence of being different. That’s why he was called Avraham HaIvri, for the whole world was on one side while he was on the other. And the Chazon Ish certainly towered above other men – and in many regards was quite different from the mainstream.

However, it is important to distinguish why a person is doing something. Is he doing it in order to be different or in order to be better? Therein lies the key. The former is screaming for attention and can get himself into trouble by separating from the community, not blending in with his fellows, etc., as I discussed in the article. The latter, however, is the objective of life, as you point out: to strive to improve and to excel.

Finally, you raise an interesting question. Should a chassid who finds himself in a Modern Orthodox environment remove his chassidishe garb? Rav Singer, zt”l, of the Sefardishe Shul of Boro Park would wear a regular hat in his shul but when he attended the tisch of the Bluzhever Rebbe, ztl, he would wear a shtreimel. To answer your question, a difference that does not grate on people is not a problem. It is when the difference can be seen as aggravating or condescending or haughty that we must be very vigilant.

The Torah recommends that we try to achieve uniformity in one place even if more than one practice is 100 percent halachically acceptable. It is for this reason that in my shul on Chol HaMoed Pesach and Sukkos we have separate minyanim for those who wear tefillin and those who do not. As the Torah says, “Lo sisgodedu,” which the Gemara interprets to mean “Lo saasu agudos agudos – Do not make different factions in the same place.”

Once again, I thank you for helping me crystallize and clarify these subtle distinctions and may we all merit to know when to be different and when to blend in.

Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss
Staten Island, NY

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Letters To The Editor”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority TV broadcasts incitement from children's school theater.
Palestinian Authority School Children: Boycott Israel by Killing Jews [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Islamic Relief Worldwide Logo

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Safran-032715

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Gerstenfeld-032715

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.

The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war

The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel

I rescued you?! You’re doing me a favor letting me help you!

“Tzedakah tatzil mi-mavet: Charity saves from death”; No death & a tax break? Where do I sign up?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor-278/2013/11/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: