Most of us have probably heard people using the term “Modern Orthodox”, either as a description used by some one about their religious observance or approach to the religion, or used as being opposed to “normal orthodox”, though still being “orthodox”..
As far as I’m aware, the term “modern Orthodox” is based on the approach to the religion of people like for example R. Raphael Samson Hirsch (Z”L) and other contemporaries of his.. But as far as I’m aware, R. Hirsch was a rather devout person, whose only difference was that he kept an open mind to the secular sciences and knowledge, though not going on accords with the religious principles (which, though discussed, many also believed HaRaMBaM did).. But yet, today I see people who claim to be “modern Orthodox”, seeming to believe that that means to be somewhere practicing and still living a somewhat secular lifestyle, more following the traditions than the Halachah.. For example a person I talked with, who “keeps” Shabbat, which means that she doesn’t work on Shabbat, goes to synagogue, but also goes out friday night, and watch television.. For me that is something I would describe as “masorti” (not in the Conservative understanding)..
I have to be honest, personally I feel that the term “Orthodox” is irrelevant.. Either you’re observant or you’re not.. It’s up to you to be what you want to be.. Or to put it like HaRaMBaM said it once: Either you’re a Tzaddiq or you’re a Rasha.. Let me elaborate that one, either you choose to do the right thing or you don’t.. And that goes for all of us, no matter how super religious we view ourselves or not..Hence, if we keep on following HaRaMBaM, either we get a job that makes a profit for us, and then spend the time of the job on the study of Torah (which is the right choice), or we study Torah all day and then make a living based on begging for Tz’daqqah (the wrong choice, based on Talmud Torah, Chapter 3, Halachah 10)..
Maybe terms like “Orthodox”, “Reform” and “Conservative” more fits an outlook when it comes to religion.. How “liberal” can we chose to be, when it comes to define what is acceptable, and what is not? Should we, instead of calling ourselves “Orthodox”, “Reform” and so on, rather say that we have an “Orthodox” outlook, but that we’re not that practicing? That the religion is what it is, and we don’t want to change it, but that we just don’t follow it as much as we’d like to?
So what should we put in this term “Modern Orthodox”? What does it mean to be “Modern Orthodox”?
Please share your thoughts:o)