Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Disclaimer: Some of you may be what-iffing, but-maybeing, and who-sayzing when reading this post. Please note that this and the below post were written following an actual conversation with a specific person and they are based on my knowledge of her character.
"I'm not what you would call frum," she said.
I didn't answer.

What would I call "frum?" Am I frum?
Am I frum because I dress similarly to many people in Boro Park?
Would I still be frum if I were in Meah Shearim?

If you'd believe me, I'd tell you that as I see it, we're very similar.
But you'd think I'm insincere.
You are absolutely, positively certain that I am judging you.
Yes, so judgemental, her type.

The reality is simply that we both have our strengths and weaknesses.
I was raised with some mitzvot that are now automatic, and there are some I have yet to learn.
Some midot come naturally to me, while others remain a constant battle.
I aim to do good, yet there are constant failures.
I make mistakes.
I'm still growing.
I believe you can say the same.
So who can call one of us "frummer" than the other?

How do you define "frum?" Please comment here. Muse continued below.


The Dreamer said...

How come you always ask such loaded questions?

Ya want the real definition or mine?

Frum is someone who believes in Hadosh baruch Hu and all that He is... SOmeone who is Shomer Shabbat and Kashrut and tries valiantly to keep growing...

truth is, i don't know who you were speaking to or what the context of your conversation was, so... yeah.

David_on_the_Lake said...

hmmm I think shomer shabbos...has always been the universal benchmark of frum..

halfshared said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
halfshared said...

Ya I agree with the dreamer and david on the lake. These things also work by standards of the community one is in. What one considers frum in a community is considered "off the derech" in another..but basically shabbos, kashrus, taharos hamishpacha etc.

Rebbetzin Shechina said...

You're frum if the person you are most intimate with is frum, if the person who touches you like nobody ever touched you before is frum.

yingerman said...

we usedta say frum was an acronym for
f - fiel (much)
r - rishos (evil)
u - in hebrew a vav - vaynig (little)
m - mitzvos


I prefer the term erlach.

Bas~Melech said...

OK -- let's start with the standard answer: frum = Shabbos, kashrus, major mitzvos. So why is there such a thing as "frummer" "less frum" and "not in my school"?

Rebetzin -- sorry, I disagree. I think it takes more than that to be frum yourself.

Yinger -- Ouch! Translation please: Erlach? (I've heard the word, but, like frum, I don't know what it means.)

Lvnsm27 said...

I'm very simple. I think basically, frum is someone who believes in Hashem and the Torah and keeps the mitzvot. I think the reason why people say more frum and less frum is because some are more strict and some are less.
Erhlich, I think, is when someone is both frum and has good traits like honesty.

Bas~Melech said...


As for your definition of Erlach, I have to take issue with that. Honesty (for example) is not a "good trait." It is a mitzva. If you don't have it, that's an aveira.

Which just adds fuel to the argument that this is all very subjective. "What I am is frum, if you don't keep an obvious mitzva that I keep then you're less frum, if you keep something that I don't, it's your chumra."

Why can't we say, "We're all imperfect. As long as we are heading in the same direction and all trying to do more in avodas HaShem, we are equals."

To quote Igeres HaRamban (slightly out of context): He talks about how to achieve humility by thinking of others as greater than you. What should you think if you are the greater one? "Think in your heart that if he sins, it is shogeg (a mistake/lesser sin) and you are meizid (an aware/more serious sin)"
I think that is what we need to do when we find ourselves judging people for being "less frum."

flatbush gal said...

how do i define frum? hmmm I guess someone who keeps shabbos and kosher and basic well known halachos (tznius for women, kovayah itim for men...)

aoc gold said...

The Naughty Boy

There was a naughty boy,

And a naughty boy was he,

He ran away to Scotland

The people for to see

Then he found
That the ground

Was as hard,

That a yard

Was as long,

That a song

Was as merry,

That a cherry

Was as red,

That lead

Was as weighty,

That fourscore

Was as eighty,

That a door

Was as wooden

As in England
So he stood in his shoes

And he wonder'd;

He stood in his shoes

And he wonder'd.

-----by aoc gold

Miss S. said...

Shomer shabbos, shomer kashrut and shomer TH.

I don't get into if a person "looks frum" or not.