Thursday, September 22, 2005

An A(fterlife) for Effort

I understand the mentality of the chumra-serving flavor of Judaism. Do they think that the chumras are found in any real sources of Judaism? No. Do they really believe there is a foundational truth by which their actions have metaphysical meaning? Nah.

They follow the idea that God rewards the effort itself and the good intent. They know they go way beyond strict Halachah, but in being so strict they must present more effort for which God will doubtlessly be happier about and will bless them and give them a great portion in Olam Habah.

Does it matter that these chumras hide the simple majesty of a number of valuable mitzvot? Does it matter that they waste time on these chumras that they could use doing more productive projects? Of course not. As long as they keep plodding away at what they believe God would want, how can they lose out in the long term (i.e. the afterlife)?

Real understanding of the Torah, or even the world in general is of tertiary importance. Bugs in the water - that is what ensures them eternal life.

8 comments:

Kid Varecha said...

Several years ago, during the winter, my wife went to a Shabbat kallah at the home of some very machmir people. Their porch steps were icy, and some of the guests were these frail and elderly folks who are always breaking hips and then deteriorating. Because the hosts were machmirer than thou, they didn't violate their kevod Shabbat by salting the ice, or even putting towels over it.

The Kid

Anonymous said...

I see you're machmir on straw men!

Chumra is there to enhance the majesty and concern one has for a mitzva. Whether every machmir has that in mind is unimportant.

No examples? (Bugs aren't a Chumra)

I understand now what turns you so far off from OJ. Not getting it.

This post is BS

(Oh, and you can salt ice on Shabbos for Sakana - and whats wrong with towels exactly?)

Anonymous said...

Except there are all too many of those straw men running around.

Anonymous said...

Microscopic bugs are a chumra.

Anonymous said...

A1 - Many, yes. This post implies most or all.

A2 - Actually, microcopic bugs are mutar. You can see those things. A store in Queens used to have a cup full of them for all to see.

Anonymous said...

OP is usually a better skeptic than this. His emotions are showing.

Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"Chumra is there to enhance the majesty and concern one has for a mitzva. Whether every machmir has that in mind is unimportant."

Maybe it used to be and maybe some people still think of it that way, but I was generalizing about the "chumra-serving flavor of Judaism" where it is the race for chumrot which define how righteous one is.

"No examples? (Bugs aren't a Chumra)"

I think they are, but this is unnecessary griping. Anyone who knows what I'm talking about knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Anon (the last),

"OP is usually a better skeptic than this. His emotions are showing."

This has little to do with skepticism. It's analysis of behavior. The "chumra-lifestyle" is not for the sake of hidur mitzvah.

Anon (second to last),

"Many, yes. This post implies most or all."

I was talking about the people (and you know who they are) who see chumrot as a lifestyle and look down on those who are not as strict.

"Actually, microcopic bugs are mutar. You can see those things. A store in Queens used to have a cup full of them for all to see."

The simple halacha is to just look out for bugs so you don't eat them. There's no practical reason to go nuts with water filters and magnifying glasses.

Kid Varecha said...

Thank you, anonymous, for telling me that salting ice on Shabbat is OK. I say this without sarcasm--I'm relatively new at this stuff, and I didn't know that. It's a relief, since I've been salting without asking anyone.

But that's sort of my point. It's OK--or is it actually required?--to salt ice on Shabbat, but these people don't, because they want to impress people with their chumrot.

And this shows another problem with this way of doing things--newcomers who see them doing this stuff might actually conclude that *not* salting is halachically required.

Thanks again. Have a gut Shabbes.

The Kid