Tuesday, October 26, 2021



 Within the context of this paper, all of this has meant the growth of right-wing or "sectarian" Orthodoxy-the "yeshiva world" is, overwhelmingly, the world of right-wing Orthodoxy-and the growth of the perspective which is more punctilious and stringent, both in terms of psak and in terms of observance. To clarify and demonstrate this point, it is now necessary to distinguish between two types of Modern Orthodoxy. One may be called philosophical, while the other is more appropriately characterized as behavioraL. Within the category of philosophical Modern Orthodox (or "Centrist Orthodox") would be those who are meticulously observant of halakhah but are, nevertheless, philosophically modern. Within this context, being modern means, at minimum, having a positive perspective on general education and knowledge and being positively disposed to Israel and religious Zionism. 

 The behaviorally Modern Orthodox, on the other hand, are not deeply concerned with philosophical ideas about either modernity or religious Zionism. By and large, they define themselves as Modern Orthodox in the sense that they are not meticulously observant. In many ways, their definition of themselves as Modern Orthodox has the same basis as did those whom Marshall Sklare found to define themselves as Conservative. That is, when asked, "What do you mean when you say you are Conservative?," the responses were, typically: "Now-I'd guess you'd call it middle of the road, as far as (not) being as strict as the Orthodox, yet not quite as Reformed as the Reformed," or ." . . I don't like the old-fashioned type, or the Reform. I'm between the two of them. "28 Similarly, most of those who define themselves as Modern Orthodox do so in reference to right-wing or "sectarian" Orthodoxy, and they define themselves as modern in the sense that they are not as observant. As Heilman and Cohen put it,


  1. There are two kinds of Modern Orthodox
    The intellectual, who treats Torah like a physicist treats physics.
    The behavioural, who define themselves as "not Chareidi, not Reformative"

  2. R soloveitchik Vs r rackman

  3. The problem is that the Rav, zt"l, is beyond either version of Modern Orthodoxy. He combined the strong intellectualism with a passion for the tradition. For the two groups, nothing is really holy. For the intellectuals, Torah is like physics - a field of knowledge. For the behaviourals, it's just something they do while others do other things. Neither group really cares about the spiritual. That's why the whole neo-Chasidic movement in MO is trying to take off.

  4. the Rav ztl was writing about "synthesis" between the two worlds. Rackman was doing this practically, sythesizing philosophy, pscyhology , etc into Halacha. The Rav basically shut him down, or at least tried to set limits on where the halacha is.

    Also, the Rav wrote all about philosophers , Kant, Hegel, etc in his books. I once compared him to Rambam to a yeshiva buddy of mine, and it was not taken well.

  5. "There are two kinds of Modern Orthodox"

    Ideally, all Jews should be "Hareidi". Or all jews should follow Torah, and that we should all have Yirat Shamayim, and Yirat chet. That is what hareidi should mean. It should not stop us from learnign a trade or profession, and being able to find work in the modern economy.


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