Daled Amos clued me into to an interesting downloadable shiur from YU regarding the restrictions of the Nine Days. This tied into my ongoing search for information regarding the source of the restrictions, and in particular, what exactly you can and cannot do during this time. It also touches upon an issue that I’ve addressed in the past here on this blog, namely the importance of matching the question with the authority.
For example, there’s no point in asking whether it’s OK to see a movie during the three weeks when the person you’re asking believes that it’s never OK to see a movie. The question itself loses all relevance, and equally so, the answer.
Too, MOChassid has a pair of posts about normality, or the definition thereof, that connect to this. In truth, I don’t know what normal is anymore. I used to think that I was normal, but after reading my blog I’m sure none of you will concur. But as with many things, I think context is of prime importance in the definition of normalcy. If many of the things that you consider to be normal behavior, e.g. watching movies, reading secular books, listening to rock music, are now considered by the community around you to be “assur”, are you normal? Or are you deviant?
And if you keep getting pounded over the head with messages that what you do is wrong, wrong, WRONG, how does that make you view yourself? And how will you feel about the community around you? And if this is primary exposure to Orthodox Judaism, how will you feel about Orthodoxy?
MO thinks both sides, the Chareidim (chumra of the week) and the Modern Orthodox (anything goes), are too far from the mean to be normal anymore. Is it possible, or even desirable to walk that middle line? Can the center hold? And wasn’t that what Modern Orthodoxy was supposed to be about?
By the way, the shiur was very interesting, but I still have no idea if it’s OK to go to a movie, or watch a DVD, or listen to a secular CD during the three weeks. Could it be that even YU is becoming too Charedi for me?