I alluded to two reasons why the definition doesn't really fit but I only discussed one. The one I discussed can be summarized as follows:
Any person who speaks out against wholesale Torah study cannot be considered an "ameil b'Torah" no matter how much Torah he knows. In other words, suppose there are 60,000 Kollel students in Eretz Yisroel (out of 1,750,000 adult male Jews) - if one says this number is too big, he is no proponent of אם בחקתי תלכו . If one says this number is too small, he is one of "us".
Thus I didn't know whether to laugh or cry (I did both) when I read the master of Emes Ve-Emunah challenge me in a comment that:
What makes you think I don't support learning in Kolel?
And later in the very same comment pronounce:
You sir hvae been brainwahsed right along with the 60 thousand Avrreichim in Israel most of whom should be getting jobs.
Um. Could you run that one by me again?
But, now I need to discuss the second area in which these well-intentioned non-Chareidi Orthodox Jews fall short of the definition of chareidi despite what looks like compliance to my refined definition of "doing mitzvos with ameilus b'Torah". But this is not a shortcoming in the "ameilus b'Torah" department, it is a shortcoming in the "mitzvos" department. And it falls back to my original, unrefined definition:
A non-chareidi knows the Chumash. A chareidi knows the chumash with Rashi.
Now, in chapter 1 of my book, I applied this principle to a general lack of "ameilus b'Torah" mandated in Vayikra 26:3 for those who learn Rashi. But at the end of chapter 3 (pp. 95-6), I noted that it applies to numerous other Torah mitzvos. The prime example is that non-Chareidim don't seem to read Rashi - and the Ramban - on Vayikra 19:2, and because of that, they do not implement Kedoshim Tihiyu.
What is Kedoshim Tihiyu?
Rashi explains based on Midrash Rabba (Vayikra 24:6) that it means "distancing oneself from promiscuity for wherever we find a constraint against promiscuity, there we find kedusha".
It follows that where there is no constraint against promiscuity, there is no kedusha.
The Ramban goes a bit further to explain even within the framework of what is not Halachically prohibited, one can live a totally secular lifestyle. He terms this - נבל ברשות התורה - a vulgar person within the boundaries of Torah. This is because he is not using the mitzvos as guidelines to live a G-dly lifestyle, but rather to fulfill his obligation and maintain his Jewish identity while pursuing a lifestyle as close to the secular world as the Torah "permits". Kedoshim Tihiyu is saying that the Torah does not truly permit it.
This is the common refrain of "There's nothing wrong with...as long as...". Such as "There is nothing wrong with going on a vacation to Las Vegas as long as you don't do this or that." "There is nothing wrong with going to this event or watching movies as long as..." "There is nothing wrong with eating this as long as it doesn't contain..." "Everything is 100% muttar as long as it's not 100% assur."
In most cases, it may not be "100% assur" but kedusha it isn't. There is no kedusha in going to a goyisha opera even if no women sing. It's not for us. We must be kedoshim. If not, we are a "naval b'rshus haTorah".
This comes from the Ramban in Vayikra 19:2. But let's not forget Rashi. Rashi presents a variation of this concept in Devarim 14:21 when he quotes a gemara in Yevamos 20 that we must "sanctify ourselves with [abstention from] what is permissible to us".
But, let's return to the Rashi in Kedoshim Tihiyu - "You must distance yourself from promiscuity (i.e., irreverant migling of the sexes)." What does this mean in real terms?
It means we are to do everything we can to put a distance between men and women who are not married to each other. Wherever we can. Wherever it is possible to do so. This seems to be indicated in Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 21.
All observant Jews should be in favor of segregating men from women any place where they may come to unruly mingling. This is called "kedusha" and it is mandated in the Torah not only in Vayikra 19:2 but in numerous other places (e.g., Devarim 23:10-15). The only possible question should be: To what lengths should we go to impose upon people who are not prepared to accept upon themselves the disciplines of kedusha? But this question comes after advocating the "concept".
So let's talk about buses in Eretz Yisrael. There is no question that segregation on buses is a manifestation of kedusha just like anywhere else - a shul, a wedding hall, a funeral. Lack of segregation is a lack of kedusha (a davar rah). Since the Torah commands us to pursue kedusha, it is obvious that any Jew who observes mitzvos ought to support the concept of segregation on buses.
Now I can understand one who thinks that we should not actively fight for this concept in the face of resistance from less observant Jews. But to oppose the entire concept and actively and vocally fight against the kedusha of gender separation? Such a person is at worst a transgressor of Kedoshim Tihiyu and V'Nishmartem mikol davar rah, and at best - a naval birshus HaTorah.
And, as such, I was totally appalled to see a recent post written by an "observant" blogger who calls his forum "Emes Ve-Emunah" decrying a pro-segregation article that appeared in, of all places, a secular medium, and in the process, decrying all attempts to implement this kedusha. This is part of what he writes:
What he fails to understand is that sex segregated buses are not a Halachic requirement despite his claim to the contrary. If it were you would never see any Charedi Rabbanim on non segregated buses. Nor would you see Teshuvos by such eminent Poskim as Rav Moshe Feinstein who do not insist that segregation is mandatory.
Not a Halachic requirement? Well, hey! Neither is a mechitza in a shul. The Torah says nothing about mechitzas in shuls, the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch say nothing about a mechitza in a shul. Ergo, there is no Halachic requirement to have a mechitza in a shul.
Of course the gemara in Sukka talks about mechitzas, not at shuls, but at any mixed gathering, even solemn ones like funerals. And based on only this, Rav Moshe Feinstein ruled that mechitzos are min haTorah (IgM OC-A 39) and the only question is, how high? Of course RMF doesn't have a teshuva about segregating Jewish buses because nobody asked him about segregating Jewish buses. He only ruled about whether we are required to avoid non-Jewish buses that are beyond our power to segregate. Nevertheless, he does say (ibid.) that "it is most logical to say that the [requirement] is from the Torah at any place of gathering".
Now I know that this blogger does not daven in a shul that does not have a mechitza. But I truly wonder why not? There is no Halachic requirement. And evidently, he is not concerned about "havu perushim min ha-arayos" of Kedoshim Tihiyu.
In any case, perhaps segregated buses in the Holy Land is too sensitive an issue to campaign for. But to campaign against it? Anybody who fights for mingling of the sexes where it can be avoided - and rationalizes that it "is not a Halachic requirement" - is a naval b'rshus haTorah. Nobody who understands all the allusions to kedusha throughout the Torah would do such a thing. And nobody who does so can be a chareidi.
Now, while we are on the topic of kedusha, I must comment that I was equally appalled by the very next post that appeared in this "Forum for Orthodox Jewish thought on Halacha, Hashkafa, and sociological issues of our time" that calls itself Emes Ve-Emunah. The post opens as follows:
Is it halachicly permissible for homosexual couples to have and raise children? Is it a good idea?
The answer to both those questions is probably yes - under certain conditions.
This post is based on an article that appeared in another free-thinking Jewish online medium.
Now, the article itself is a bit confusing. Let's analyze it a bit.
The headline of the article is: Israeli Rabbis Back Gay Parenting
Now, what does "gay parenting" mean to you? To me it means two people of the same gender who are living together and, against all odds, find a way to procure a child which they raise together in their humble abode as if each one is the natural parent. Thus the child grows in a house with two "parents" of the same gender.
Indeed, the glossy photo prominently displayed underneath the headline depicts just that. Two "intimate" men and their "son".
Alas, the article itself makes no mention of such a scenario. Here's what the article says:
The ruling currently being discussed in the institute envisages a homosexual marrying a woman who is fully aware that her prospective husband is not physically attracted to women and retains a relationship with another man.
Okay. So we are discussing a homosexual man marrying a woman even though he is not sexually attracted and he will impregnate her by hook or by crook. Simultaneously, he is having a "relationship" with another man.
What kind of relationship?
Here's what the article says:
“There is nothing wrong with two men having a close relationship without intimate relations and we should not penalise people who are not attracted to members of the other sex,” says Rabbi Burstein. “Having homosexual tendencies is in itself not a sin. Giving in to them is.”
So evidently it is a "kosher" platonic relationship. No intimate relations. This obviously can only mean that he primarily resides with his wife, even if they barely touch, and the offspring are brought up by the mother and father in this wonderful mixed-gender Jewish house. As for him and the "other guy", they will have long phone conversations, perhaps go for a stroll in the park once in a while and wink at each other from the same side of the mechitza. Of course, as far as intimacy or parenting is concerned, the "other guy" is left out at the gym. Well, I suppose he could be the kvaater at the bris!
Now, I am very confused because, even though some she'er, ksus, and onah issues may need to be addressed, I fail to see what innovative Halachic ruling is required for this, nor how this is called "homosexual parenting". This is what I would advise any sincere SSA afflicted individual to do.
Now, if the "relationship" with the other man means that they live together, then it is certainly not without intimacy. No two people who are sexually attracted to each other can live together and not be intimate. And, as some commenters at Emes Ve-Emunah rightfully pointed out, it is forbidden by the laws of yichud. Even Rabbi Burstein agrees that this is forbidden. And, on top of all that, if this is the case, what is the "innovative Halachic ruling" that is being "envisaged"? The article doesn't give us a clue. Nor does Rabbi Burstein.
Incidentally, the article makes it appear that some sort of authorization has already been obtained from some respected Gedolim. But a more careful reading tells us merely that Rabbi Burstein "consulted with both on the homosexual issue". The next line in the article uses a grammatical trick where the second half of the sentence is future-present and the first half is made to look like it is past-present but is deceivingly ambiguous. I am sure there has been no authorization obtained from these Gedolim (except perhaps for the lame scenario presented which does not really need Halachic approval) because, if there were, the article would say it in BIG BOLD LETTERS.
So, the article itself is a red herring which hasn't really revealed anything innovative and the story doesn't fit the title. What is clear is that the Halachic ruling is not about raisng children in a homosexual home. Halacha will not sanction a homosexual home. It merely determines a way for a frum SSA to maintain a heterosexual family structure even in the face of his homosexual tendencies.
Now, apparently Mr. Emes Ve-Emunah saw this article a bit differently. Although I think he may be as confused about it as I am, it is evident from his review that he bit at the title and the picture and that he thinks there is actually a serious gesture from Gedolei Yisrael to sanction a homosexual household. And, of course, he is all for it. He writes:
On a halachic level though - I do not believe there is any real problem.
There's nothing wrong with...as long as...
And I don’t think the major Poskim have one either.
I think it depends who you call a major posek. Now, I am nobody's posek but I will posken anyway. There is no hetter for a homosexual household and there never will be. Even if the parties swear not even to hold hands, there is no hetter. For one thing, the laws of Yichud certainly apply. Even a brother and sister are not allowed to live alone together in the same house for more than 30 days מפני החשד . Secondly, אין אפוטרופוס לעריות .
But, besides all this, a Jewish home is not a love nest. It is a mikdash me'at. A place of kedusha.
Kedusha - remember that?
איש ואשה, זכו - שכינה ביניהם . A man and woman, if they are worthy - the Shechina is with them. This is because a man - איש - has a "yud" and a woman - אשה - has a "heh". The "yud" and the "heh" join to form an abbreviation of the Name of G-d. But two "yuds" or two "hehs" just won't cut it.
Thus, even if by some strange quirk, there can be a way to make a homosexual home that doesn't violate Halacha - there is no kedusha. It would be a "nevala b'rshus haTorah". But in truth, it's worse than a "nevala". It is a hashchasa - כי השחית כל בשר דרכו . Because homosexual marriages are what brought the Great Flood to the world as the Midrash says (Midrash Rabba Breishis 26:5):
רבי הונא בשם רבי אמר דור המבול לא נימוחו מן העולם עד שכתבו גמומסיות לזכר ולבהמה
Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rebbi: The generation of the flood were not wiped out from the world until [men] were writing marriage contracts to males and to beasts.Believe it or not, I deeply sympathize with the pains and frustrations of the SSA and I truly wish I could propose better solutions for them. I thank G-d every day that He didn't make me one (when I say shelo assani isha, I have in mind shelo assani k'isha, which would be much worse). I am sure that the G-d that created SSA will have compassion for those that He inflicted it upon. But on one condition - that they keep this affliction to themselves. Whether or not they succumb to the drives, in terms of the general public, it must stay "in the closet". An SSA is most "kosher" when nobody who doesn't have to know that he is SSA knows about it. G-d did not destroy the world because people were driven to engage in homosexual behavior. He destroyed it because they went so far as to "normalize" it publicly as an "alternative lifestyle".
By the tenets of Kedoshim Tihiyu, it is clear that the answer to both of Emes Ve-Emunah's initial questions is: No, not under any conditions. Or, perhaps I am wrong. Maybe it is permissible under one condition.
On condition that one dispenses with the mitzva of Kedoshim Tihiyu.Getting back to the definition of "chareidi", a chareidi is one who knows the Chumash with Rashi. Rashi on Vayikra 26:3 and Rashi on Vayikra 19:2 and Rashi on Devarim 14:21. Rashi did not make up any of these commentaries. He quoted Chazal.
But this is beyond the comprehension of the subscribers to "Emes Ve-Emunah" who think the definition of "chareidi" is: Kanoim from Meah Shearim who get irrationally upset when the government of Yerushalyim Ir HaKodesh brazenly promotes chillul Shabbos or when the authorities insist on cutting up dead Jews for no earthly purpose.
But at least now I can understand why Mr. Emes Ve-Emunah fights so hard against Mehadrin buses. It's because where would all those poor SSAs sit? At least, as long as there are no Mehadrin buses, they can sit together with the ladies so they don't get sexually aroused.
And to think I questioned his adherence to Kedoshim Tihiyu!