Providing Moral Leadership To A Kid At A Chareidi Yeshiva

yeshivaboy: hey luke, i have a quick question, did you find out about the documentary hypothesis before or after your conversion
YourMoralLeader: as a child
YourMoralLeader: my dad has a phd in bible
yeshivaboy: and you converted anyway
YourMoralLeader: yep
yeshivaboy: anyway, i wanted to thank you, you have had a major impact on my life
yeshivaboy: i read your blog every day
yeshivaboy: i became a subscriber to dennis prager and listen to his show every day for months now
yeshivaboy: i had never heard him before
yeshivaboy: and i started downloading marc shapiro lectures from torah in motion
yeshivaboy: so you really believe in orthodox judaism?
yeshivaboy: i have a lot of doubts after reading james kugel
yeshivaboy: and his ways of reconciling oj with the dh do not really suffice for me
YourMoralLeader: there is no way of reconciling
YourMoralLeader: you have to live with paradox
YourMoralLeader: awesome to hear, thank you
yeshivaboy: if i stay frum i will become modern orthodox
yeshivaboy: but that’s a big "if"
yeshivaboy: frum women here in jerusalem are now wearing burkas, i think you blogged about it once
yeshivaboy: i’m doing ok, i’m actually a happy person in real life, i just have a lot of resentment at the whole shidduchim thing
yeshivaboy: and i’m basically orthoprax
yeshivaboy: but not orthodox anymore
yeshivaboy: i wish i still believed what i used to
YourMoralLeader: yeah
yeshivaboy: i think i will probably stay religious becuz i like the values
yeshivaboy: and i like learning torah, and i like the culture
YourMoralLeader: yeah
yeshivaboy: but i have no motivation to get up an hour and a half early to daven
YourMoralLeader: yeah
yeshivaboy: i hated doing that even when i believed
YourMoralLeader: i prefer study
yeshivaboy: yeah, torah study is great
yeshivaboy: and niddah sucks big time
yeshivaboy: if i could eliminate davening and niddah i would be happy being frum without believing in god at all
yeshivaboy: i don’t mind the not having sex for 2-3 weeks a months so much, but not being able to even pass a cup to each other is crazy to me
yeshivaboy: and i feel like it makes your relationship colder
YourMoralLeader: how you like living in israel?
yeshivaboy: it’s ok.  there are wonderful things about it, but i much prefer america.
yeshivaboy: it’s tough though because i’m in the chareidi world most of the time
yeshivaboy: which is very strict and now especially with my views
yeshivaboy: i get into a lot of debates in my kollel.
yeshivaboy: if you believe the earth is over 5,000 years old
yeshivaboy: you are looked at like you are off the derech
yeshivaboy: but i never bring up biblical criticism
yeshivaboy: no one has any idea how many doubts i have
yeshivaboy: i think a lot of people do
yeshivaboy: have doubts
yeshivaboy: they are just scared to admit it
yeshivaboy: luke, is dennis prager’s lecture on why to believe in god, is that any good?
yeshivaboy: he charges a lot for 35 minute shows
YourMoralLeader: yes
YourMoralLeader: $7 a month not bad
yeshivaboy: yeah, the monthly membership is a good price
YourMoralLeader: it is only worth discussing BC etc with people who are attuned
YourMoralLeader: yeah, get a subscription $50 for a year
yeshivaboy: i’ve been subscribed for about 3 months now…it has really changed me a lot so far
yeshivaboy: he is such a superb and clear thinker
yeshivaboy: i cancelled my medved subscription now
yeshivaboy: luke, do you really believe in a divinely inspired torah?
YourMoralLeader: yeah
YourMoralLeader: but that’s flexible, it could’ve been inspired but put together over centuries through many sources
YourMoralLeader: read marc shapiro’s book, The limits of orthodox theology
YourMoralLeader: rambam said that the torah moshe received at sinai was divine, but that doesn’t mean that the whole five books were given then
yeshivaboy: what does that mean, that they were written later?
YourMoralLeader: maybe
YourMoralLeader: maybe only 10 commandments given at sinai
yeshivaboy: and then the whole oral law thing
yeshivaboy: i have learned the goofiest things in the gemara
YourMoralLeader: listening to shapiro is great forclarifying this stuff
yeshivaboy: yeah i think i need to listen to more of his stuff
YourMoralLeader: i listened to every lecture on TIM
YourMoralLeader: shapiro lecture
yeshivaboy: it’s expensive though, i’ve already spent over 20 bucks on his lectures
yeshivaboy: is TIM free?
yeshivaboy: oh never mind
yeshivaboy: tim is torah in motion
yeshivaboy: i was thinking of e-tim or somethign, there was some thing i saw on there that was free if you listen live
yeshivaboy: otherwise it’s like 3.99 a lecture
YourMoralLeader: go through hirhurim get a free code and it is all free
YourMoralLeader: i paid not a penny
yeshivaboy: thanks i didn’t know you could do that
yeshivaboy: but according to what you said, like if only 10 commandments were given, why can’t i be a jew like dennis prager
yeshivaboy: and not follow rabbinical enactments
YourMoralLeader: it depends if you want to be part of a high commitment community or not
YourMoralLeader: it is a social decision, not a theological one for me
YourMoralLeader: it’s like belonging to a club with some absurd rules

yeshivaboy: i hope you don’t mind if i ask you becuz i am totally not judging you, but would you want to hold by niddah laws?
YourMoralLeader: i’d work it out with my wife
YourMoralLeader: i believe what you do in private is diff from public
YourMoralLeader: in private, a lot more latitude
YourMoralLeader: but i wouldn’t go into a mcdonalds in my hood etc
yeshivaboy: that’s kind of where i think i’m holding
yeshivaboy: but it must be hard to work out with your wife that you both hold the same way on those issues
yeshivaboy: and then also the issue of keeping your kids staying religious
YourMoralLeader: yeah, it is the way you work things out with your wife that is more important than where you end up in most cases

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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