Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Flexidox

Recently, the term "flexidox" recently was raised in assorted blogs, based upon a futuresimchas.com category.

Now although it is has been established that the term was coined by Gershon Winkler, author of the Golem book (the introduction is fascinating where he attempts to establish the historical accuracy of the Maharal & the Golem story) and currently a desert shaman of the Jewish persuasion, this category strikes a chord beyond the Shamanic community.

Why would someone call themselves flexidox? Clearly it's a play on the word, Orthodox. So does it mean that they keep all of halakhah, but are somewhat flexible in their beliefs? Though this would be a naive understanding of the term, a more accurate term would be Orthoprax. So I suspect that it means somewhat flexible in their observance of halakha. So why call themselves flexidox and not either Conservative or a culturally Jewish person?

Because, presumably they are culturally Orthodox and maintain, for the most part, an observance of the Orthodox lifestyle. So why not say Orthodox? Because clearly they deviate in some "flexible" ways from an Orthodox understanding of halakha and are acutely aware of their deviations. At least they have the courage to admit that what they are observing is not, strictly speaking, Judaism, but rather some close proximity to it.

So why not just leave? Because they can have all, (or most) of the benefits of an Orthodox lifestyle and the Orthodox community, without any of the burdens of not being able to do you want, when you want to.

The danger for the Orthodox community is that these people encourage an attitude of showing up and pretending to play by the rules. Besides the cynical attitude towards Avodas haShem that this implies, it makes a mockery of the religious observance that many people struggle with.
The Orthodox Community does not (and should not) want to reject these people for various reasons. However, the more Orthodoxy becomes a separate cultural community and less a community of believers and Ovdei HaShem, the greater this dangers becomes.

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