Oct 23, 2011

Haredi Against Their Will - Take Responsibility

As a sort of follow-up article to the article that AMI Magazine ran a while back regarding the "Orthoprax" issue, Sam Sokol has investigated the issue of how common the "Ultra-Orthodox who behind closed doors don't believe" issue really is.

I don't know if it is as common as he concludes in his JPost article, or if more common than that or less common. He also does not do any real scientific study, though the anecdotal eveidence he gleans from the people he spoke to is very interesting, and from a sociological standpoint this would probably make a very interesting study. I can accept all his findings without flinching. The only issue I have is the title he uses - "Haredi Against Their Will".

Just because someone chooses to continue living a Haredi lifestyle despite not believing in it does not make it against his will. Nobody has forced them to make that choice, at least not in many of the cases. They can just as easily choose to live according to their beliefs and choose a different lifestyle, whether it is within another stream of Judaism or of it is completely non-religious, atheist, agnostic or whatever.

That someone chooses to live a lifestyle they don't believe in does not automatically make it against their will. They chose to do so, because they decided the benefits of staying outwardly Haredi outweigh the detriments of switching to an outwardly different lifestyle.

People need to take responsibility for their lives. If a person wants to be not-religious, I have no problem with that. Don't blame everyone else for your choosing to hide and not live by what you believe. Take responsibility. You want to be Haredi, for whatever reason, be so. You want to be something else, do it.

Source: Haredi Against Their Will 


  1. While in theory i agree with you, in practice it isn't that simple. it wasn't till I was almost 35 that I found my own direction in Orthodoxy and became comfortable with my choices and hashkafa, even if it was different from others. many of these people are raised so insulated they have no concept of how NOT to be chareidi. where to go, what about family and friends. many times the family and friends write them out of their lives and these people have nowhere to turn to for suport or social life.

    our family is different in that we accepted all our siblings choices and we remained close depite the differences. most are not like that.

    many of these people are young and haven't reached the maturity level to realize it really doesn't matter what others say/do/think. The chareidi community teaches and indoctrinates the opposite - that it does. and therefor to shake that off is extremely difficult.

    This is just a few of the reasons your points work in theory, but not practice.

  2. so why is it against their will? just because it is harder to break free? they are still choosing to live a certain lifestyle in order to reap certain (social) benefits.

  3. it's against their will becuast they are raised from infanthood in a way that makes it almost impossible for them tolead a normal life after "breaking free". In most haredi circles you are raised to be very dependent on the community and on family (to the degree that in some circles it's your parents who ultimately decide who your spouse will be), and breaking free turns you into a emotional unstable person almost overnight. Furthermore, in haredi-hassidic circles they don't even teach you a proper English, never mind a proper trade. It's all against their will, because they can't choose to get a better education.


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