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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Comparison and Contrast

While I was walking to work this morning, I passed a Chasidic man. He was wearing a white shirt, black pants. His head was mostly shaved, though he had two long, curly peyos on either side of his cheeks. He wore a black, velvet kippa on his head. There was no mistaking the fact that he was a Chasidic Jew. I had to compare myself to him a little. I am wearing a long demin skirt, a long-sleeved skirt, sneakers. I often wonder if people would know by looking at me that I am an Orthodox Jew. Yes, I dress tznius - always covering knees, elbows and collarbone (at least pretty much). But I don't feel like I dress in a way that makes me stand out as frum. The Chasidic man wasn't an unusual sight - I work down the street from a well-known Chasidic-owned business. I have gotten a few questions from my co-workers about my religious habits because of the people they see around. I was thinking this morning about the differences there are between myself and my co-workers. And the differences there are between myself and these Chasidic Jews. And I am not so sure that I am have so much more in common with the Chasidic Jews than I do with my co-workers, which is weird. I can't eat a lot of the things that my co-workers eat. Milk and meat together, shellfish, pork. Chasidic Jews can't eat a lot of the things I eat. Non-Cholov-Yisroel dairy, non-Pas-Yisroel baked goods, non-Yoshon, certain hechshers that I hold by, gebraks on Pesach. I don't dress the same way my co-workers do. I can't wear pants, or short sleeves, or low-cut necklines. But Chasidic Jews won't dress the way I do. With bare legs, wearing sandals, some of the colors I wear. Even my mindset, very different from my co-workers, is probably just as different on many topics from the Chasidic Jews I see down the street from my office. So who am I more similar to? My co-workers or the Chasidic Jews I see? The Chasidic Jews who follow the same laws that I do...but in a very different manner. The Chasidic Jews who have a common purpose - fulfilling Hashem's will. But somehow it seems that the way they go about fulfilling that same purpose is very different from the way I go about it. I am not always sure that I do have more in common with other Orthodox Jews than I do with non-Jews. Though I feel like I should.

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