Thoughts on Judaism

Thursday, November 24, 2005

BT Permission Slip

I, ______, want to become frum, because I am convinced that Judaism is a viable path for life. I certify, under penalty of disillusionment, that I have read and agreed to the following stipulations.

(Note: Here, I get the life sized picture of Chico and Groucho doing the contract scene in Night at the Opera. "The party of the first part shall be known as the party of the first part ...")

1) Judaism operates just like any other lifestyle. People with money and power get special treatment and impunity. Jobs and critical life requirements are filled through nepotism and netwrok ties between family and friends. You will likely lose any such ties that you have, so be prepared to survive and build your empire on your own.

2) Judaism professes belief in some far out, magical, superstitious, anti-scientific (or outdated scientific), downright weird stuff. These things are vestigial remnants of ancient apologetics, retained for value that they provide in understanding lines of reasoning. They are not meant to be everlasting physical truths or mesoretic pronouncements. The BT agrees not to base his practice of Judaism on these matters, nor to promote them as proof, as said proof relates to reality, henceforth known in this document as REALITY.

3) BT understands that "Armageddon is coming", "Moshiach is coming today" etc. are only expressions of eagerness and hope, not a lifestyle. KP is not responsible for any damage caused by adherence to said philosophy as lifestyle.

4) BT understands that his efforts are not in any way "heroic", not to be challenged in any way by any statement made to or about BT by KP. All sacrifices of family and professional opportunity are solely the responsibility of the BT. No special consideration is due to BT from any party.

5) BT understands that he is now required to have many children, 5, 10, more, G-d willing. BT is responsible for all expenses, especially yeshiva tuition. Since this expense will likely exceed the cost of buying a new sports car or SUV every year for 15 years or more, BT is responsible to show proof of financial viability and sources of potential income before entering into this contract.

6) BT understands that certain mores of society such as considering Jews and non-Jews as equals, viewing intermarried couples as "living the lifestyle of their choice" rather than "an earthshaking tragedy", teaching science, rather than religion, in a science class, viewing the assimilated Jew as another person, rather than a "target", getting to really know a person before marrying them, advocating professional careers for women, must be specificly rejected by BT under penalty of expulsion.

6) BT understands that integration into a community is required for full acceptance of this contract. BT understands that said integration is entirely, wholly, utterly and completely, the responsibility of the BT. BT understands that efforts to gain emotional support or lifestyle advice within said community may lead to suspicion and ostracism.

7) BT understands that the lifestyle requirements are extraordinarily expensive. BT understands that external forces, rather than personal commitment may require him to keep very strict and contrived rules that increase this expense. BT understands that if he thinks he can get by on a normal income, say 80K to 120K (depending on where he lives and how many kids he ultimately has), he is out of his cotton picking mind. BT further understands that efforts to obtain more money may be hampered by said community restrictions, like forbidding use of the Internet, lackadasical adherence to announced minyan times etc. Accommodations will only be forthcoming at the discretion of the community parties, aka anyone affected by the ensuing lack of money.

8) BT is forbidden to ever read a weblog, henceforth BLOG.

I have read and fully accept this contract.

Signature of starry eyed BT here

I have read and made sure that no responsibility can be pinned on me

Signature of KP


  • Fantastic! Do you think we could post this all around Crown Heights?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:35 PM  

  • Here's my edit for item 4:

    4) BT understands that his efforts are not in any way "heroic", not to be challenged in any way by any statement made to or about BT by KP. All sacrifices of family and professional opportunity are solely the responsibility of the BT. No special consideration is due to BT from any party, including, and not limited to, his or her current or future spouse, regardless of said spouse's religious beliefs.

    By Blogger The Chicxulubavitcher Rebbe, at 1:40 PM  

  • Of course, the only document I ever signed was a prepared student loan application, presented to me by the administration office of Tiferes Bochurim, Morristown, NJ. At that time, my thoughts were completely framed with full faith and trust that God would find me a way to repay the loan. Luckily, before becoming frum, I grew up as a math/science nerd and have never lacked for a good paying C/C++ programming job in the NYC financial industry.

    By Blogger The Chicxulubavitcher Rebbe, at 1:47 PM  

  • From the female perspective the permission slip would include a pledge to become a baby making machine. She has resign herslef to the fact that she may be pregant every year or two for the next decade or more. She has to resign herslef to the fact that she may be saddled with a house full of children, with little money or family support, and she has to give up her former ambitions, her professional or artisitic aspirations, and her figure.SHe has to learn how to grin and bear it and say, 'Baruch Hashem'and be grateful whe she see her former friends from the secular world getting ahead, having nice homes, keeping their figures and their sanity with their 3 kids, because she has to keep repeating to herself that each child is a brucah and of course, Hashem will help.

    By Anonymous BT gal, at 2:55 PM  

  • You are so childish...its sad. If only you could make some of these points in a balanced manner...


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:55 PM  

  • This contract presumes there is a family to support. You need another chapter of mortal and murderous shiduch discrimination.

    By Blogger Tzemach Atlas, at 5:12 PM  

  • I dont understand the part about 5-10 children
    In the MO world, that is not the norm. Even in the yeshivish world it is also not the norm. Based on my experience, between 2-4 kids is more standard.

    As far as salary. the range you quote is probably enough for someone who rents. But if you own a home that you bought on mortgage, and your real estate taxes are rising, that salary will not do. You need at least 160k. And that is for 2-4 kids.
    It also means driving a minivan.
    No cruises to Alaska.

    if youre referring to chabad, (i pick them because hardly any bt becomes a satmer chussid) then youre contract makes more sense.
    And i find that they look upon all other jews, not just goyim as goyim. Im talking about the crown heights chabad, who will likely not eat in another frum jews home if he is not chabad. (This is strictly a chabad phenomonon. other chassidim dont have this issue)

    He will ask his non religious parents (even if they are frum, they are not religious) for money. He will be angry that he has to ask. He will treat them with disrespect. I think im getting on a rant here. So ill stop.

    By Blogger happywithhislot, at 5:39 PM  

  • Happy

    People with 6+ kids are not renting anything. At most creative they will have to rent two adjacent garden apartments. If they rent a large house, it will not cost less than owning.

    Acknowledged. You are correct.

    BT gal
    You are quite correct as well. Not to mention the attendent health problems of women who have so many kids.

    Depends on WHEN. Morristown no longer has the same mission that it had when the Rebbe was alive.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 7:19 PM  

  • what is Morristown mission?

    By Blogger Tzemach Atlas, at 7:58 PM  

  • I came to Morristown on the 19th of Adar II, 5749.

    By Blogger The Chicxulubavitcher Rebbe, at 9:15 PM  

  • BT understands that if he thinks he can get by on a normal income, say 80K to 120K (depending on where he lives and how many kids he ultimately has), he is out of his cotton picking mind.

    According to a Bureau of labor Statistics report I read recently, the median salry in the Us is about $14'hr, or ~$30K a year.

    You need to change the clause in the contract to:

    BT understands that proper Torah observance requires an annual income of at least $200,000 per year, and if BT's income is less than that, BT agrees to become a secular Jew who, nonetheless, believes that the orthodox Judaism he rejects is the only True Religion.

    By Blogger Conservative Apikoris, at 10:00 PM  

  • TA
    This is only an opinon based on my discussions with relevant people, some no longer alive, at about the time chicx arrived or shortly before.

    Rabbi A Lipskar v'chaverav saw the yeshiva as a vehicle to make young men frum and Chabad. In the words of one educator, they were there "to take away a bit of the amharatzus" enough for the person to function as a CH BT. Allegiance to Chabad and the Rebbe was central to their definition of success. (quote taken from a personal discussion with Rabbi Y Greenberg.)

    Rabbi M Herson saw the yeshiva as a place where young people could learn for a few months at most, contribute a few bucks, then or in the future, and "take back what they gained to their communities. He did not see "becoming frum" as a central goal at all, but just giving a taste of learning. (quote taken from a speech made by MH at a gathering.)

    At the time of Chicx, they pakened l'ma'aleh like AL, which is similar to the kiruv yeshiva situation in my mashal. I do not believe it so now, based on rumors. I am unqualified to say how that yeshiva looks today.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 10:16 PM  

  • CA

    On the money (no pun intended).

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 10:17 PM  

  • I've been catching up on this series of posts. Interesting reading.

    I have to say, some of it rings hauntingly familiar to this Conservative gal. Not the details, but the general plot line...power and money can be formidable messing-up factors, regardless of how many children you were expected to have...

    By Blogger Balabusta in Blue Jeans, at 11:52 PM  

  • I have so much to say, but I don't want to get into it all. Except that I must point out that women can get a heter to stop having children or at least postpone having more children if they must. As much as I would like to have more children (I K"H have 4) I was able to get a heter because I have had 4 c-sections and I just turned 40. Not to mention the fact that my husband couldn't handle having another child and so for the sake of shalom bayis, we are holding at 4. And this is completely accpetable.

    So, please keep in mind that a heter can often be obtained for many of the issues you are discussing if the situation warrents one.

    By Blogger Anshel's Wife, at 8:08 PM  

  • Yetta, If only things were that simple! Yes, a heter can be gotten, but most of the brainwashed BT's wouldn't dream of aksing for one, and often their heter was denied, especially by the Beis Din of CH.

    It is a terrible aveira for these mashpiam to indoctrinate these BT women into believing that if they stop having children then they are not being good Jews.

    While many of the shluchim live the good material life, while they enjoy the fruits of their nepotism, the comfort of their large supportive families, while they preach about meiras nefesh, they allow many of the BT's to suffer without all of these support systems. They have a blind eye on the BT's children, many of whom are going fry. They turn a blind eye on the BT women who feel repressed, depressed, and are at their wits ends.

    By Anonymous BT gal, at 4:47 PM  

  • BT Gal,
    I can't argue with you because I don't live in CH and my experience hasn't been so negative. True, I do see a lot of what has been talked about here in this blog, but I am trying to be positive about everything otherwise, I would be miserable.

    Do you have an email address?

    By Blogger Anshel's Wife, at 8:11 PM  

  • BT Gal

    The CH beis din generally only paskined for CHers or when they want to. However, the (more or less) universally acknowledged Chabad expert in reproductive and marital matters is Rav Chaikind of Cleveland OH. I have heard that Chabad insiders go to him and that he is knowledgeable and compassionate in these matters, though no pushover.

    BT's often just go through channels as you say, and do not realize that one can or should get a heter, even in th case of emotional or hormonal coping problems endemic to childbirth, nor might they know that some rabanim are more expert than others, and it makes a difference. Many assume that the din is the din and everyone will say the same thing.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 9:06 AM  

  • Yetta, if you feel you will become miserable by facing some of the harsh realities of BT life I have decribed, then maybe you should seek some spiritual and/or psychological help. Perhaps you are reluctant to look inside yourself and at your own life?

    Being positive does not mean one denies harsh reality. Deal with it instead because it doesn't go away just because you wish it to.

    By Anonymous BT gal, at 3:09 PM  

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