Everything that R’ Slifkin has been saying in his most recent two posts about how Chareidim think they are viewed by others — and vice versa — I think is very true, poignant, and needs to be articulated.
But there is a key point that I think he has overlooked. R’ Slifkin pulled a quote from one of the comments on his post that reads as follows:
“It is very important for parents to emphasize that aspects of their non-charedi lifestyle are not compromises, or done because it is easier (even if it is), but that this is what they believe the Torah demands of them. A lot of the pull of the chareidi world is the feeling that they do everything according to the Torah, whereas others do not.”
The trouble is that many, if not most, non-Chareidim make far more compromises due to convenience than due to the fact that they truly believe that it is the “Torah-true” way. And this is if these people are even educated enough to have any idea what a “Torah-true” perspective might be. Take a look at a typical “Modern Orthodox” home and you tell me that everything that they are doing that appears to be a “compromise” they are doing because they believe that is what the Torah wants from them. That’s a joke.
I’m not going to go into details here about individual things — and I certainly agree that the Chareidi perspective of extreme chumras, and so forth, is in fact halachicly problematic in many ways as well — but I think that we can leave it at that and the point comes across just fine.
I agree with R’ Slifkin 100% if we are talking about an ideal world. In an ideal world, kept properly, with an utter devotion to God and the Torah, I would say without pause that the religious lifestyle R’ Slifkin is advocating for is more correct than the current approach of the Chareidi community. But when you look at not an ideal world, but the actual world, you find far more commitment, and far less compromise, in a Chareidi community than a more “modern” one.
There just aren’t as many people living what I, and R’ Slifkin, believe to be what is actually “Torah-true Judaism” — which is, granted, a stupid buzz-word-of-a-term used to discredit anyone that is not like you — as there are people living a Chareidi lifestyle. No doubt because what the Torah actually wants from us is in reality harder to do than what the Chareidim currently do.
Now, given the choice between attempting what might well be more correct but (possibly) failing miserably (and there is a lot farther to fall here), or playing it safe with the Chareidi perspective, what is one to do? Well, if you ask me, this is one of the great questions of our generation. I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, I have no idea how I am meant to properly raise them.
This, from someone that totally exists in quite a “modern” community.