Saturday, 2 January 2016

Mussar: Is Frumkeit reducing Ehrlichkeit?

originally posted on Apr. 5, 2014

There used to be a saying in Europe that "Frumkeit" [Piety] was for Catholic Monks and that Jews were meant to be Ehrlich [Honest]. Has the recent emphasis on Frumkeit actually reduced our Ehrlichkeit quotient?

Kol Tuv,

1 comment:

Micha Berger said...

I don't think that frumkeit is crowding out ehrlachkeit, I think it's a shift of focus with common causes.

1: I think we have a population that, as R/Dr Haym Solobeitchik put it, "Having lost the touch of His presence, they seek now solace in the pressure of His yoke." So, we look for things that can be quantified and codified, rather than looking for what is the most important. So the cause its not a loss of interest in ehrllachkeit or an attraction to frumkeit, but the fact that the latter can more readily reduced to check boxes.

A second issue is counter-reformation. With the rise of R and then C, the struggle to self-define became about those mitzvos that O uniquely values, rather than which ones are most important. Again the cause doesn't lie in either of the poles, but a third factor -- self definition.

In either case, we need a religion that start with a fundamental vision and a sense of ethics, kind of the way the Mishneh Torah does. Orthodoxy is insufficient to be doing the will of G-d, it is more like knowing how to walk (הלכה)-- which may or may not mean we know where we're supposed to be going (דרך ה׳).