Sunday, November 20, 2005
Finding a Modern Chassidic Girl
I had an intense conversation with my rabbi this Shabbos over the concept of being Modern Chassidic, although we didn't use those words, per se. I told him that it bothers me that some women might look down on me by the fact that I like to listen to secular music, or by the fact that I enjoy watching DVDs if I ever have the time to do so with my now ultra-busy schedule. Then to spark the conversation, I asked the rabbi if he himself would ever go to a smoky jazz club to listen to music and have drinks.
When he said he wouldn't personally go to such a place because he is more interested in other activities, he made sure to clarify that there are a lot of things that would not be violative of Jewish law, but nevertheless it would not proper for a Jew to partake in those activities. For example, it is not proper for a Jew to partake in activities where other people are getting drunk, hooking up, sweating and dancing on the dance floor, because there is a concept called modesty (tznius) where dancing in public would not be modest and thus it would violate Jewish law. On the other hand, going out to a jazz club where one would sit and listen to a performance would not violate Jewish law; however, he said it all depends on where I am holding.
Then when it comes to movies, he wanted to clarify to me that seeing a movie is an addiction -- a taiva, as they call it in Chassidic circles. However, there are Chassidic guys who both of us know and respect who enjoy a good movie. However, in truth, while it probably doesn't violate any Jewish laws to see a movie [depending on its content], seeing a movie is not something that a typical religious guy or girl will do.
However, again, he said it depends on where I am holding. There are many guys who while on an airplane will see a movie that is playing -- there are many Chassidic guys who both of us know who will see three or four movies on an airplane and their wives won't say anything. The rabbi explained that this is why it is important to marry a woman who is flexible and who understands that her husband just enjoys movies, or secular music, or dancing. He said the dancing, however, should preferably be done in private and not on a ballroom floor with other people around or in a sweaty club. However, again, it is all a question as to where I am holding.
Lastly, we came to the conclusion that it is probably a smarter idea for me to date a girl who is also relatively new to religion -- a baal teshuva -- so that she will be able to relate to my desire to see movies and to do secular things and not to judge me for my desire to do them. This was an interesting conclusion to our conversation. So, in order for me to be modern chassidic, I'll need a baal teshuva girl, because a "frum from birth" (religious from birth) girl might not be able to relate to my desire to see movies and this might cause miscommunications between us. This applies to many of the other topics I have been speaking about over the past few months.