Friday, March 23, 2007

Judaism and conformity

I had an argument with my parents the other night. They were giving me the guilt trip about certain aspects of my personality and dress that are different than your average yeshiva boy. One of the things they said is that people will judge me by those particular aspects, and it will affect me in the long run. My reply was that if they were the kind of people who judged someone by their outward appearance and would not spend the time to get to know someone and make a judgement based on the content of their character, then screw them, I don't give a fuck what they think.
Here is where the argument is mainly: my father believes that judaism is a conformist society/religion, and one must abide everything and do the "norm" just like everyone else to be considered a "good" jew. While I agree that there is a closely gaurded set of rules in regard to the way we conduct ourselves, from the most mundane to the most spiritual, and that we must be rigorous in our service, I still maintain that this does not mean we have to goosestep in every way. When it comes to matters of ritual, of course we have to follow our mesorah to the letter, but this doesn't mean we can't develop our own individuality within those parameters.
What do you think?
Originally posted Monday, 18 April 2005

1 comment:

m00kie said...

i have a really really hard time with conformity too, but i do think that there is some truth to what your dad said.. i feel like there is an aspect of judaism that requires us to nullify what we consider to be our individuality. i feel that in general, what we consider our individuality is nothing more than external definitions we give ourselves. torah being about us working on our internals, through the externals, demands of us to get above the desires of our externals and be internally individualistic.
i have no idea how you do that or who is able to do that, but i do feel there is truth to it..