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.

8 comments:

Karl said...

This is one thing I advocate quite a lot - finding a match with someone from a similar background. Most importantly, you both need to be heading in the same direction but I think a common starting point often goes hand in hand with where the other is heading towards and where they are holding at the moment.

Taiva is not necessarily addiction, but desire. Often referred to as an unhealthy desire, but we all have/need a taiva / desire for food and other basic worldly needs, just don't take this to the extreme - the unhealthy addiction side of things, or desire more worldly involvement than is necessary.

Littleredridinghoodie said...

I would ask your grandfather if he is alive or pray to him not some silly Rabbi, I think your yichus might suffer, besides take the girl out of bais yaakov you still can't take the bais yaakov out of the girl when push comes to shove and they have children they will worry themselves sick where as a ballas teshuva from a not frum home might just think they are "going through a phase" or even worse forget their humble beginings and look down upon them. Think this one through as if the Bal Shem tov was alive and your great grandparents were praying on your behalf... There are plenty of bal teshuva girls who come from frum homes too.

Zoe Strickman said...

Karl,
It's good to hear from you. The last time we communicated was when I was in China and you were also away. I agree with your comment about needing someone with a similar background as a starting point. Taivas annoy me, especially since they feel so natural.

Little Red Hoodie,
This is the first time I've seen you here, so allow me to first extend a warm welcome. Your poems and your words come complex even when you are talking, and it is refreshing reading what you write for the simple fact that it requires effort to stay in line with your thoughts. Silly Rabbi? The speed of your thoughts also have a familiar ring to them. There are layers and layers of messages in your words. Very impressive. -Zoe

Rowan said...

ya see? this certainly sounds like progress. Is your Rabbi and his wife searching for a new shidduch for you? I hope so :)

bookie0507 said...

Are you willing to wear a streimel and a Bekkishe? Are your parents frum? I know a very nice chassidishe girl looking for a modern chassidishe guy but the father will only allow a guy who dresses chassidic.

Zoe Strickman said...

Bookie, thank you for your comment. You are a few years late, however. B"H I am married now with a wonderful child. I wouldn't be willing to wear a streimel (I wear black hats), but I do wear a Karpota (which is close enough to a Bekkishe). I also dress pretty much Chassidic. My parents were not frum.

I wish you the best in finding a shidduch for your girl. If you e-mail me and tell me more about her, perhaps I have a friend that could be a match for her.

Lilian said...

Modern Chassidic...I thought I was the only one.

Zoe Strickman said...

Now SEVEN YEARS after I wrote this article, I still consider myself "modern chassidic," if there is such a term.

As far as kashrut, halachic observance, and being a regular orthodox jew, I am there 100%. I still have my weaknesses (e.g., davening is still an issue, watching movies, playing video games, etc.), and I don't think I'll ever be able to shake them. But there is no reason to deny everything else as far as my jewish heritage is concerned just because I have some "taints" which I cannot shake, right?