Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oreo Cookies, Not People

Blueberry. A term I heard only after I got married, referring to those of the Bais Yaakov schools, who wear light blue shirts and dark blue skirts.

Oreo. A term I knew about, but usually in fun, when referring to typical Yeshivish people who wear a white shirt and black pants every day.

Penguin. See oreo, but sometimes referring to chassidish, who wear 'tails' and long coats.

What do these three terms have in common?

Well, they are euphemisms used to describe people who are usually referred to as 'Yeshivish'.
They see long term Torah learning as a goal, they educate their daughters and sons in Bais Yaakovs and Yeshivos respectively, and they try to serve the Ribono Shel Olam in the way they know how.

I know that in every group, there are those who are not doing the right thing. There are those who are the typical stereotype. But if a Yeshivish 'oreo' guy makes fun of a guy wearing a 'colored' shirt- how is that any different then those not wearing the black and white uniform making fun of the oreos and the blueberries?

How is it not Loshon Hara to insult an entire group of Klal Yisroel, based on the way they dress, no less. Aren't we all supposed to look past exteriors and see the Yid inside?

Where would we be if the wonderful rabbeim at Aish HaTorah, or Or Sameach, looked at the way that the people who come searching for truth are dressed? Should we make fun of them too- by inventing names for their mode of dress?

Chanukah was a time where the Maccabim called out- M'LaHashem- who is for Hashem. Not, who dresses in color, and who dresses in monochrome. Not who has 7 children and who has 2. Not who wears a tichel and who wears a shpitzel. Just, who's trying to serve G-d in the best way they know how.

So, stop with the name calling. It's not nice, and it's probably Lashon Hara. Thanks.

This has been my public service announcement for the week.


Shades of Grey said...

I agree that the name calling / nicknames isn't really productive at all. Bava Metzia 58b actually talks about using nicknames, especially giving people a nickname (even a common one) as being a very bad thing in general.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I am OK with someone saying someone is chasidish or Litvish when it is not used in derogatory fashion. I am particularly distressed by those who use snag, short for misnaged. This not because I dislike abbreviations. It is contemptuously used to imply you are dirt because you disagree.

Let us also be honest, i have heard terms about MO (no problem with that) as Teaneck Shenishbar, etc.

Meir Roiterman

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...


nmf #7 said...

Shades of Grey- Thanks for the affirmation.

Meir Roiterman- That's the point I was trying to get across.

Dude with Hat- You're welcome.

Law said...

I disagree. I do not think those descriptors are derogatory in nature. They are an easy way of conveying an idea in one word. That some may take it as name calling only raises questions about themselves as to why they feel that way. Point the lens at yourself first. Once again, to me, it's neutral.

And Shades of grey, I think you should take another look at the gemarah because you may have wrong p'shat. The gemarah refers to a bad nickname- one that was meant to embarrass. the common nickname to which you refer, and I assume you are quoting the gemarah, is the bad nickname that the person became accustomed to. The way I see it, converse to you or NMF#7, is that this thread is about neutral terms. I see it as no different than referring to people as chasidish, yeshivish, yekkish, misnagdish, etc

harry-er than them all said...

but labels make things so much easier, plus we get to say things about them that aren't nice.

oh wait, that WAS the point of your post