Frum But With It vs. Modern Orthodox Machmir: It all comes down to the velvet

Posted on +00002007-03-25T16:57:18+00:00312007bUTCSun, 25 Mar 2007 16:57:18 +0000 5, 206

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I have decided that “Frum But With It” merely means that you are “Modern Orthodox machmir” but too chicken to actually refer to yourself as anything close to Modern Orthodox. Then again in the frum world it may just mean that you are modern orhodox but happen to wear a black velvet yarmulke, since so much depends on this very important external feature. It need not matter if you have the classic MO features such as going to movies, concerts and watching television. All that matters in order to retain your frum but with it label is that accessory known as black velvet. The second you don that suede, black knit or possibly white knit if your really daring- you descend is status from “frum but with it” to that dreaded modern orthodox.

I know its dreaded within the black velvet community because whenever they want to tell you someone is not as religious as them they spit in disgust as they say “she is modern” or “you know the modern type” as if they were just throwing everyone without the traditional garb into one big group and referring to them as modern.

Don’t get me wrong the modern folks do exactly the same thing. They also judge purely on externals. They look at the black velvet yarmulke as the symbol of the frummy- which in itself is a derogatory term. It is basically saying just because they wear a black velvet yarmulke they are uncultured, not worldly and uneducated. This is simply not the case, and just because someone wants to don the penguin outfit doesn’t mean anything. In fact although the stereotypes tend to be true- although with the invention of blogs- we are finding out it may not necessarily be. In the days of yore- it was a good stereotype, most of those who wore the garb were trying to emanate those of the shtetl in Europe and they tended to be uncultured in the secular sense- though very knowledgeable in the torah sense. These days neither is necessarily true. Folks who wear black and white and the more modern folks are neither more suspect to be smarter in torah or secular matters. It simply doest hold true today- although the ages old stereotype shines through and everyone in the respective communities likes to think so.

My goal of this week to is try and show how stupid it is to judge solely on the yarmulke- but unfortunately it is what people do. The problems this creates are endless including many broken shidduchim and falsely made shidduchim. Someone who is not right for a girl can just as easily put on a black velvet yarmulke and by that simple action which takes no effort- he can shatter many lives- as well as the girl, shadchun, family, etc… that automatically rejects any boys that chose not to wear a black velvet yarmulke- as well as yeshivas that force this doctrine on to bochrim, I happened to attnd Chofetz Chaim and was in a black hat yeshiva yet I was able to wear any yarmulke I chose, maybe I am forever biased- but it is still stupidity.

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