The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I for One Am Not a Machmir

The other day, while shopping, I saw machmirim (lit. Stringent) milk for the first time.
Finding the name rather odd, I took a photo and put it up on Twitpic along with the tweet:
"What does it say about us that this is a brand name? A good tag line: Machmirim - our milk is frummer then you."
The post didn't seem to garner the response I thought it would, and soon sunk into Twitter oblivion.

When I saw the real tag line associated with Machmirim brand, however, I did a double take . . . In a rather generic Hebrew font it said "אנחנו מחמירים בני מחמירים" - "we are the stringent (machmirim) the children of the stringent."

And then I became truly irked - for said tag line
is in fact a paraphrase of Talmudic dictum: "We are the believers (ma'aminim) children of the believers."

It would seem, that while meant as a cute line, Machmirim brand has in fact shown a fatal flaw with how many of us in the Chereidi ('Ultra-Orthodox') camp approach Judaism today.

In the past Jews were Mehadar B'mitzvos - they beautified their deeds - the desire to be frummer stemmed from a desire to come closer to G-d (As understood, I speak to the proverbial ideal . . . there were more then enough people in the Old Country who didn't near observance - especially that of today - if at all. [This in turn adds another hole to the shtick that we come from past generations of machmirim] A simple example: The Rebbe once pointed out to a lady from a Teshler background that in the past one could be a true mehadar b'mitzvos with out a beard (referring to the Yekishe, German, group of Orthodoxy, where shaving was the norm) Today, however, he concluded, one can no longer say as much).

In any event, today we've supplanted the faith ingrained in us from past generations with a number crunching view of frum'kiet. It doesn't matter who the shochet we get our meat from is per se, but rather the stickers on the front of the packaging. Rabbonim feel the need to come out with a yearly chumra to stay popular.

I'm not pushing some bland progressive shtick that "G-d only wants our hearts" - an attitude often used to explain away a lack of observence . . . Nor am I taking up the "left-wing: Orthodox criticism for the so called "black" crowd for their 'failure' in the so called Derech Eretz sh'kadma l'torah (the basic courtesy that comes before Torah observance).
I'm aware of Human frailty and understand that a person who ostensibly strives to be an observant Jew can fall through, at times, to major temptations. I understand the need to be frum and yes, even machmir.

What bothers me here is that our motivation is no longer to draw closer to our Creator - be it through love, awe, or even fear - but rather to revel in being more Frum then that group or another.

I for one am not a Machmir - I'm a Ma'amin

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chanie said...

"...the Schochet we get our meet from.."
-schochet does not deserve a capital
-you are not meeting someone, you're buying meat.

"I, for one, am....a ma'aman."
-are you sure it's not "ma'amin"? I'm not sure, but double-check anyways...

chanie said...

And good post, btw.

C said...

I like. A lot. Good points.

Mottel said...

-Chanie: It felt odd writing meat in a milchige post - so I opted for meet :)
I'm glad you lthought it was good.

-C: I'm glad you like!

Nemo said...

Old news!

Mottel said...

Please specify.
What's old?

e said...

yeah, machmirim is evil. it perverts judaism.

Mottel said...

Why do you just rephrase my words.

e said...

god. I was trying to express agreement.

sh'mi.dev0rah said...

See: MBD


PS-- Nice post. Very idealistic...

Mottel said...

Yup that song went through my mind while writing this post.

Sef said...

I dont know what you're saying. this stuff is great, I'll have a real frum house now with machmirim milk. Moshiach will probably give me an award too.
oh joy.

Serving Hashem with your heart? thats an excuse that girl could use (Chas V'Shalom) to stop wearing stockings.

Mottel said...

Sef, get off the haterade!
You need to learn that people can not read minds or hearts, if your actions speak clearly one way, then even if in every other way you are great (and believe me, you are) you'll be judged in that light.

Sef said...

NU! I agree with you. That's why Boruch Hashem I will be buying machmirim milk, so that people will believe I'm a real machmir. It will probably also score me a good shidduch.
this is great stuff, I'm so excited.

Snag Jr. said...

Rebbe can tell a Teshler what her mehalech/mesorah wants from her; how things changed etc.. But how dare the Snags tell Lubavitch that changes they make in Succah and others are not reflection of Chabad of old- what do they know about Lubavitch anyways. Right?

Nutty Lubabs spreading lies about Snags. It must be the s'm fehring the machlokes. There are thousands who don't know from Shabbos and Yom Kippur and eat rabbits which bring us to tears, but you are still woried that there are yidden in Lakewood who shave. Fech.

Just like the s'm caused the old fights, he is leading you and causing this fights. Peseal Michah left mitzrayim- mivakshay riv, mentschin vus huben nisht vus tz tun- have to bash other groups- fech

Mottel said...

The lady had sent he children to Lubavitcher Yeshivos (and today has many chosheve Lubavitcher children, grandchildren etc)and had a hard time with her sons taking upon themselves not shave - as the idea was foreign to her mind set.

You obviously fail, or are pretending not, to understand the history of sleeping in a sukah etc.

Our inyan is to be mosef ohr. We come to each one (ourselves included) with ways to improve l'fi m'dreigaso.

Snag Jr. said...

Yeh yeh, your message was to nutty Lubabs who have a problem with the no trimming issue. Yup