Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On Hypocrisy, Inconsistency, and Fear

I began this post, erased it, then started it again. I hesitated in posting this out of fear that my identity would be discovered someday and my chillul Yom Tov would become public knowledge. What a perfectly ironic example of the points that I am about to make.

I am sitting here, in private, typing this post on Shavuous, "Zman Matan Toraseinu", with only the light of the shabbos lamp illuminating the room as I type. Not only that--my hair is covered.

Why? Why do I feel the need to cover my hair while being mechallel shabbos? If I am willing to use the computer on shabbos, why am I not turning on the light?

It seems that an inevitable part of being Orthoprax, or at least "prax" in public, is living with an endless stream of hypocrisy, lies, and fear. How can or should one deal with feeling like a hypocrite? Is it possible to live a happy and fulfilled Orthoprax life to avoid destroying ones family? How can I avoid feeling like a hypocrite when telling my children to keep things that I do not keep?



  1. Goot Yom-tov Undercover!

    I get caught up in very similar questions and conundrums from time to time. Usually, these thoughts last just long enough to serve me as a reminder that I made a choice to live life by the dictates of the One and Only God I have left: The God in me; call it a soul if you will. One of the principle teachings I've learned from my soul is not to hurt anyone by my actions. My keeping Orthodoxy in public hurts no one; even if it may seem hypocritical, deceitful, dishonest..., the ugliest epithet you can conjure up, I wont give a damn. Call it bloody murder. By Orthodox standards I'm considered a mass murderer for much lesser an offense than using electricity on sabbaths; which, by way of rabbinic 'logic' is a kin of archetypal work category of building. So I hope you enjoy a yom-tov walk in this great metropolis I built here: this comment.

  2. Basically it boils down to being not religious but choosing to remain living in their world for a myriad of reasons. Now being 60 years of age I have become quite good at tHis charade. To my wife I am an open book. To my children, grand children and assorted family, I am mildly suspect. I am at a juncture in life when nobody dares to ask if I donned tefellin or davened mincha yet. I am not going to shave today as it would rock the boat at the gala shavouth festival in Shul in a little while. I consider walking to Shul a harder "malacha" Than driving but this the way it is. It's possible to religious without being orthodox. Well "gut yuntif". btw there is no such word as YUNTIF

  3. Wow, this is a tough one to ponder as i have been there with my family. I don't know what i would do if children were in the picture.

  4. I wonder - cause I have recently often asked myself the same question - what exactly is your need or motivation to be mechalel Shabbos/YomTov for a blog? Do you feel you are accomplishing something and if so, what? I'm not asking you to stop or anything Frum like that, I am curious.
    Personally I have not yet seen any special gain to be had by davka checking out blogs (or anything else on the Internet for that matter) on Shabbos - if anything, the respite I get from having to wrack my brain over these issues is a Shabbos comfort... and I say this as a skeptic questioning my long-held beliefs.

  5. FS, It seems to me that you are talking about two different things here. One is just being inconsistent in your personal observance. That's not hypcrisy. It's more like being an impostor, but if being an impostor serves a legitimate purpose (which it might if you have kids) then maybe it's not a moral flaw.
    On the other hand you ended by saying that you tell your kids to keep what you don't keep. That might be hypocrisy, and if you're manipulating them to live an Orthodox life, instead of just telling them about Orthodoxy or living an Orthodox life, without pressuring them, then maybe the thing to do is to sit back and think about whether that's appropriate.

    Chaynobody, blogging on Yom Tov, especially on a blog that's most likely to be read by an audience that doesn't use a computer on Yom Tov, could be a non-harmful way of showing independence.

  6. "How can or should one deal with feeling like a hypocrite?"

    How about just stop being a hypocrite. Tell people you're an atheist.

  7. Except for the small detail that I'm not an athiest.

    Belief in a higher power can exist without believing that he gave an instruction manual a few millenia ago in a ceremony complete with Hollywood-style special effects.

  8. Hi SF, I posted a comment but I guess it somehow got messed up.

    I know exactly how you feel. Two weeks ago on Friday night, I switched our Mac on in our computer / guest room after I closed the door and then did some surfing and it definitely has a lot to do with the need to rebel and to display independence. I actually also posted some of my Undercover Kofer posts on Shabbos. I definitely identify with the urge and think it is a healthy way to regain some sense of balance. And, yes, I sometimes wear my kippah when I do that!

    Any way I can contact you over email? You can reach me under undercoverkofer@blogspot.com.

  9. I've been there as well. It's a hard way to live. Perhaps some of your sense of hypocrisy stems from an underlying feeling that you're losing yourself? Going through the motions of ritual on a frequent and regular basis really can wear down a person.

  10. Maybe you need to prove to yourself that you won't be struck by lightning for committing prohibitions that are esentially morally neutral. Maybe I'm projecting . . . When I left a religious Jewish school, one of the things I resented most was being made to feel guilty for doing something as harmless as eating meat with milk, or not fasting on Yom Kippur. It took practice not feeling guilty for these things, (and reserving guilt for things that actually deserve feeling guilty for!). Sorry the comment is so late . . . really enjoying your very thought provoking blog.