The Tides Have Turned


Dear Editor,

They are winning.

It began slowly, with the battlefront focused on weddings and music, every new break from the ways of old creating a backlash of its own. With time, the outrage subsided and one is hard-pressed to find a wedding today held to the standards we all used to abide by.

With the advent of the smartphone, secular society found a new way to breach our bubble of holiness. Again, time weakened us and we no longer flinch when we see upstanding members of our community with the ultimate Trojan horse in their pockets, portals allowing the enemy through our borders, posing as an indispensable convenience.

The drop in clothing standards quickly followed. The battle is still being fought, but one only has to look around to see which side is winning.

However, throughout it all, the narrative was still on our side and hope was still alive. The headlines were how to deal with the rising struggles, the protest against the onslaught telling us that we might yet come out of this intact.

Now we have lost that, too.

Those who for years have pleaded to be understood for all their misdeeds, to whom judgement against their actions was always uncalled for, have now turned their judging eyes on us.

Now the headlines read “Look How Crazy the ‘Frummies’ Are.” Striving to uphold higher standards has become scandalous, something to be ashamed of. Practices that would have been lauded a few years ago have become open targets for the critical masses.

From being on the offensive, trying to eradicate negative influences before they could destroy us, we have been forced to go on the defensive, struggling to stave off those among us who demean and mock our way of life.

We may still be in this fight, but the tide is no longer in our favor. At this point, we may need to throw out the old battleplans and begin anew.

Most importantly, we must not falter from the knowledge that we are in the right. They may have forgotten, but we know which side came first and which came to usurp. We must feel pride for the very things they hope to shame us into giving up.

Otherwise, we have already lost.

A Distraught Soldier


  1. We are losing are young (and adults!) in droves. Pushing frumkeit on others continues to backfire! Since the Rabbonim in power do not acknowledge this the people are pushing back. So sorry. As much I want to agree with your point I cannot.

    • Frumkeit easy to fake with the right clothes! Erhlichkite is a harder thing to fake! if you can fake something with the right jacket and hat. then it is generally a terrible metric with which to measure!

  2. Matzav used to serve as a lighthouse for Bnei Yeshiva but alas web hits are an essential part of online business and they have become just another clubhouse for yeshiva lite instead of yeshivaleit

  3. “A distraught soldier”- you are fighting a war that’s in your mind. Stop fighting and start living and be accepting. B”h yiddishe kinder are doing and trying their best

  4. Not sure what he’s referring to. I agree with many of the things he wrote, but if he’s defending protesting in front of the smartphone store, I’m out.

  5. What a beautiful letter. The most beautiful thing I saw in a long time. Bot does it put things in perspective. I say that as someone who undoubtedly has been changed from my business smart phone, but cannot imagine life without it. I wish we can all go back in time.

    • When I got my smart phone I disguised myself when I entered the store. Now I walk around with the iPhone in my shirt pocket and everyone sees. I don’t care anymore. I Have fallen to the depths of our society. Then it got worse, my rebbi has 2 iPhone and is using both at the same time, sometimes. When I strp back I realize we are finished.

      • (generally? .if i am not mistaken women would wear hats in public. and at home/ or with family at home women didn’t cover their hair.)

      • The statement ‘In Lita…’ is an overgeneralization.

        It is true that there were challenges in the modern period. However, not all people were the same. The older generation was different than the younger generation. People in small towns were not identical to those in large cities. Learned different from unlearned. Etc. In Telshe there was Yavneh for chinuch habanos for example.

        Such challenges were not limited to the women (or men) of Lita, they existed elsewhere too. One might say that they were universal. Recall that Frau Sarah Schenirer started Beis Yaakov in Chasidic Poland (Galicia – Krakow) in that period, where young girls were going off the derech in droves. They were going to the theater on Shabbos, when their menfolk went to a Rebbe’s tisch. Those were not Litvishe woman going OTD, they were Hasidic!

        Let us be careful not to overgeneralize and paint with too broad of a brush here.

        • In lita women didnt cover their hair. wasn’t meant as all women obviously its meant as it was common enough not to cause a commotion.

  6. Shame on this school and their parent body for sending Yiddisha Neshamos, this is not the Jewish religion this is a colt that will not end well. Holy circles, holy circles, we scream. This isn’t one of them, this is an embarrassment to Yidden throughout cudos to the video taker. This is why we need smartphones to keep crazy fanatics under control.

  7. I have a smartphone for 3 years now. I am listening to more shiurim when I drive, when I walk or when I do mundane work at my job. It’s how you use it. Had these people been around when the printing press was invented, they would have bee against it too.

  8. For me, at least, it’s not the long or short hair issue, it’s the measuring. This is so Krum. If the school wants to make a new rule (I would prefer guidelines) about hair length, then maybe it’s OK. I’m not so sure this is such an important halachic issue, but the school has the right to issue rules. However, the measuring is not going to teach the girls anything. The issue should be taught subtlely all year long and the idea will become part of the girls’ hashkafah. Measuring is not going to give over the ideas of tznius. As a senior citiizen I remember, in my Bais Yaakov, in the 60’s, they gave us guidelines for the length of our skirts, but did not teach us the beauty of tznius. Guess what! We girls used to bring longer skirts to school for Limudei Kodesh and change into shorter skirts for Limudei Chol. That’s what happens when you teach inches instead of ideas and hashkafah. You accomplish nothing.

    • Beis yakovs are an innovation! And now stringency on top of stringency is applied and justified. While ignoring the fact 300 years ago how many people would have thought Beis yakovs are tsnious!

  9. With sincere apologies to the letter writer, I have no idea what your point is. Certainly it cannot be that you are advocating for Chumros. While there is (perhaps) nothing wrong with a person accepting upon themselves to be stronger or more diligent in a certain area, there is EVERYTHING wrong with that person pushing his agenda on others (wife and children included). It is ethically wrong on every level for any person, Mosad, school or anyone to arbitrarily decide what the “rules” are, and horrifying to think that those who do can enforce them. We have our rules. Chazal set them up, our Poiskim adjust it to the Tekufa they live in and that is it.

    People complain that we have no leadership. We do have it! Our leaders are brilliant. They know all to well to say nothing when nothing should be said. Do you think the doctors and nurses working daily in a psych ward spend any time arguing or justifying every stupidity their patients say or do? Of course not. They just let them go and do their thing because they know that nebach they are meshugoyim and there is nothing you can say or do to stop them.

    There never was, never is and never will be any allowance for imposing on others some chumra that you make up or decide, just like there never was, never is and never will be any allowance for embarrassing or humiliating others under any circumstances. You cannot possibly believe for a second that the Aibishter is looking down and smiling saying “Ahh look at my kinderlach, they feel so close to me, they want to be so careful to remain holy and pure and I am so proud that they are pushing others to follow in their own made up footsteps”

    Be frum on your own cheshbon.

  10. I don’t know where u live but in my circle things r far different from ur views.things r much better from what “u” see. I guess everybody sees what he wants to see.

  11. Our society has turned into a Mafia culture. If the people at top would relinquish their control and black-mailing and just stick to offering guidance to individuals on how they can grow, all of the issues discussed here will improve.

  12. North Korea has 15 styles of “approved” haircuts for men and 15 styles for women. And the maximum length is 2cm.

    Please explain to me the difference between this school and the communist state.

    (Hint: it has nothing to do with yiddishkeit)

  13. Maybe dont be condescending and say that everyone with a smartphone is going OTD and isn’t a proper eved hashem, and more people will listen to you when you bring up valid points like a lack of tznius in some places. If you yell “Shaigetz!!” at everyone with a smartphone, decide a guy who wears t shirts or jeans is a goy, and accuse everyone that has internet of watching inappropriate stuff, then no one will listen to you. I can personally tell you that many of my friends don’t filter their smartphones. why? Because 99% of the people who tell them to are indistinguishable from the guy last week who told them that its better they shouldn’t daven than come to shul in jeans. Being a “frummy” is good. Being an eved hashem is something we all want. But when you write on an internet forum about how bad the internet is, when you say that 60% of yidden are fakers, and you are the real tzaddik, when you launch wars over trivial, seemingly pointless things, dont be surprised when people dislike you and discount everything you say as extremist crazyness.

  14. You frame the battle as the New vs. the Old. Think about it is lining up girls to measure their hair New or Old? Did Rebbitsin Kaplan do this in Bais Yakov? Did Sora Shneirer do it? Was this done 20 years ago in Lakewood? Absolutly not! THIS IS NEW! It is a product of schools competing for image. Not people upholding what their teachers did.

  15. We need to get tougher in our yiddishkeit. The more the outside world goes crazy we have to fight back. I love the letter written. We are winning. Most kids don’t go off the derech. Maybe 3 per cent. We are expanding. We must add more strictness. My kids are going along with me. I don’t allow any English secular story books which I had when growing up like jack and Jill etc. we must fight. Both here and in israel. We must also spread our influence on the modern Jews. There is a lot of work but we are winning. Yes shorten the hair but lengthen the dresses. I watch my kids like a hawk. They have been trained four inches below the knee is jewish law. If you don’t agree try a different religion.

  16. The focus should be on yiras shamayim, or the lack of it. a yarei shamayim, more often than not, will do, buy, wear, own the right thing. Parents and mechanchim should worry about the level of yiras shamayim instilled in their children and talmidim/talmidos. everything else is its commentary.

  17. “It is a product of schools competing for image.”

    Assuming this is 100% correct. so what. its not the schools fault. they see a marketing opportunity (based on their perception of the customers wants), if nobody is buying what they are selling, they will either go out of business, or change their product. No parent is forced to send their kids to a school whose policies they disagree with. IF such a policy exists in a school, same on the parents who disagree with it, make a stink about it and continue to send their kids to this school.

  18. “Please explain to me the difference between this school and the communist state. ”

    You might wish to star twith the mogen avram in orach chayim siman ayin heh sif kattan bein and how he explains a contradiction between the mechaber there and in even haezer siman chaf alef sif beis. As well as many other nosei keilim both in hilchos krias shma as well as in even haezer who attempt to answer this seeming contradiction as well.

    Would you prefer all girls braid their hair when out in public going forward (like in meah shearim)?

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