Friday, November 13, 2009

what's your hashkafah?

I HATE that question.

But when you're on the 'shidduch' scene, it's a question you get asked a lot if you didn't go to a BY high school or the kind of seminary that type-casts. But that's what this question does - it tries to fit you into a little box so a nice old lady can match you up with someone else whose own little box sits on the same shelf. I guess it makes her job a little easier.

But what if I'm not sure which box I fit into? What if I don't fit into any box?

I'm never really sure how to answer... if I say MO, will she think that I want to make aliyah, or that I'm a UWS-er, or that I know the words to that Bnai Akiva song? If I say that I'm 'Modern Yeshivish', does that mean I'll have to start covering up a little more for my dates?

If I tell her that I'm somewhere 'in-between', will she think I'm a girl without a sense of direction? SOS


N said...

i hate when people try to pigeon-hole me... i always skirt the issue when asked that!

Jessica said...

I don't understand how anyone with a brain could answer that question... I doubt most people fit into some specific label, so without going extreme detail of your religious habits, I think that question would be impossible to answer.

Data said...

When asked that, which isn't often (it's usually "What are you looking for?" "Well, a little black dress that can go from day to night . . . I'm sorry, did you mean as in a husband?") I ask, "How do you mean?" Once given specific questions, I can go from there.

frum single female said...

i hate this question as well. i usually just try to describe what my observance is as opposed to labeling myself.
on frumster i just periodically change the religious level box.
the problem with labeling one's frumkeit is that you dont know if others define the label the same way you do. this of course is the problem with labeling. labels mean different things to different people.

Pinny said...

What's wrong with describing your outlook on life with as much detail as you need -- including the fact (if appropriate) that you are currently not sure about some parts of it?

You should not have to boil it all down to one label or phrase.

But, explaining your world/life view IS (or at least SHOULD BE) an important part of the "matching up" process because you should expect to have similar hashkafos to the one you will marry (soon, BE"H).

Lvnsm27 said...

I don't fit into a specific box either/
If someone asks, I tell them I'm middle of the road, between MO and yeshivish.
I don't really like labels though, too vague.

However, torah observant sums it up nicely.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

She asked what your hashkafa is, not what Jewish group you affiliate with or fit into. Someone with some level of theological or religious convictions shouldn't have a hard time describing their 'hashkafos'.

Jessica said...

Shlomo - Semantics.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Not semantics. I consider that an abasement of my words. "Labels" is much more culturally based, it has little to do with ones convictions about theology, and more to do with the color of ones clothing. "Hashkafa" could have very little to do with the cultural group-classifications such has "yeshivish" and "yeshivish modern". There is a yeshivish person who can have zero hashkafot about anything, but just know that he's yeshivish in the sense that he's similar to his peers. If he answers "yeshivish" to the hashkafa question then it is a lie. Yet if a guy who wears a black hat during the week and has every last particularity of a yeshivish person but reads atheistic literature in his spare time and has great doubts as to the authenticity of his religion, then "yeshivish" would not be a proper response for him either.

kisarita said...

Shlomo, you give the shadchan too much credit. The problem is when people ask "what's your hashkafa" the LAST thing they wanna here is your theological ideas. They really mean, "what's your wardrobe." eg pants/skirts/yarmulka/hat/tichels/sheitels/ etc.
This is obvious from the way they phrase the question. If they really want to know my hashkafa, they would have to ask- my hashkafa about WHAT?

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Well obviously she's not waiting to hear your erudite expositions on Kantian philosophy, but it doesn't sit well with me that "weltanschaung" necessarily equals "wardrobe", ..but you're definitely right about those obtuse shadchanim.

Moshe said...

Just put up a post about shadchans.

What you should've answered is "Depends on how much money he got." ;-)

nameless, faceless said...


Haha, you said Kant :)

(PS: MM, that that "hashkafah" garbage used to really rile me, I eat it for breakfast. You've just got to stop playing their game. I've got a few mindfucks of my own to throw at people like that, and it *really* helps.)