Saturday, December 3, 2011

Question of Class/Manners

I sorta need an opinion on the following. It has happened to me numerous times on dates and I always come home feeling like I don't know if I did the 'right' thing or not. I don't honestly believe there is a right or wrong to this situation, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this.
You go on a date and the guy takes you to a Starbucks. On the date, or in line at the coffee shop you discuss the different options, whose the coffee drinker, and of course, the all-important cholov yisroel or not question. The guy says he only drinks cholov yisroel and orders either a tea, or soy drink, or something which doesn't have an issue with the milk. The girl, aka, me, keeps cholov stam and can drink anything with regular milk, or OU-D or OK-D, so technically she can order a whole lot more.
Is it not good manners to order something cholov stam, which the guy cannot order? Is it polite to ask if he minds if you order cholov stam? Should you just smile politely and order plain black coffee with a shot of (pareve) flavor?
I usually just go with my cholov stam options, but that's cuz I'm such a coffee shop addict. But then I feel like I'm sitting there with my fancy frappe/moccacchino/latte and the guy is drinking this pathetic, dull, plain black coffee or worse-TEA!
What would you do and what do you feel is the polite/sensitive/well-mannered/proper way to handle this?


  1. As a guy, I would be quite "turned off" if a girl ordered a dairy product. As she sees it is something that obviously has value to me (and something which she would most definitely have to take on once we would marry), her ordering a cholov akum product would simply display lack of sensitivity and tell me that were in two separate places. Although I may tell her "no" if she asks if I mind, the date has ended right there. There is no way I go anywhere with such a girl.

  2. I sort of agree with anon. As a lubavitcher, cholov yisroel is of paramount importance to me and therefore any prospective match would definitely have to share those values. That being said, to begin with I wouldnt date a girl who didnt share such values. If a guy goes out with a girl who has such a major difference in hashkafa, in my mind that is sort of saying he is OK with it and therefore u ordering a coffee with milk shouldnt be an issue.

  3. Wow, I never realized cholov yisroel was such a make it or break it issue... It's never come up on a date, but now I'm freaking out a little and wondering if I was ever inadvertently rude. I guess I just automatically assume that if a guy is taking me somewhere then he must be ok with it.

  4. You should not feel a need to apologize for keeping cholov stam. It is not anti-frumkeit to keep cholov stam.

    However, in terms of going on a date, if you know at the beginning of the date of his dietary standards, perhaps it would be considerate to restrict your menu to his. Not in terms of making yourself look like you are "equally religious," but out of courtesy that he doesn't have to watch your frappacino.

  5. @ PL. I would have to disagree. For someone who keeps cholov yisroel, drinking cholov akum is "anti frumkiet". Although I do understand that for many people cholov akum is not considered an issue in the least, if I went out with a lubavitch girl and saw that she didnt keep cholov yirsoel, the date would end right there and then. It would tell me she lacks yiras shamayim (not to CV say that people who drink / eat cholov akum dont have yras shomayim, simply that a girl who was raised as a lubavitcher and considers herself one and yet doesnt keep cholov yisroel is simply lacking something).

    I do not know how it works outside chabad circles, as in if a guy who grew up not keeping cholov yisroel took it upon himself if he would expect his future wife to take it upon herself as well, but I would imagine that he most probably would. It would therefore be "anti frumkeit" for him as well, although he would be able to understand her side....

  6. To provide some clarification to my previous comment: Simply put, if the guy keeps cholov yisroel and the girl doesnt, that says they are in different places frumkeit wise. The guy will most definitely see the girl as being on a lower level of frumkeit. Besides for the momentary issue of "is it polite or not", there is the long term one; how would things work out with someone who has such a drastically different opinion on such a fundamental thing?

  7. Wow. I am surprised at Anonymous’ and The Professor’s collective responses. First and foremost, if CY is such an important issue to you guys, perhaps you should have asked that question before even going out with the girl. Second, if you feal so strongly about CY, why on earth would you take a girl to non-CY venue?!

    I suspect that a guy who dumps a girl because she doesn’t keep CY, no questions asked, is somewhat moronic. If you’re curious about the girl’s hashkofa, family custom, and possibly her personal derelictions with respect to CY, why not just ask her and have a discussion about it?! Isn’t that the purpose of a date? To get a feel for the person you’re going out with?

    As far as the polite thing to do, It's hard say. Personally, I keep CY, but my family’s practice is to eat non-CY products. I don’t recall any girl turning down coffee because of my personal beliefs nor have I ever expected it. Parenthetically, my wife doesn’t keep CY, nor did she when we were dating. I believe there is an important distinction that needs to be made between being machmir and purely going against halacha (aside from Lubavitch to which I cannot really answer for) which I surmise is a topic worth discussing.

    I can assure you, of all the issues to worry about in finding a potential match, CY really shouldn’t be one of them! If one really likes and respects another who is adamant about CY, in all likelihood they’d take CY upon themselves after they got married. Sorry, Anonymous and The Professor, in all likelihood I would chose a cup of coffee over you guys on a first date any day… :-P

  8. Are all of you Chabadniks? Please clarify that, becuase I'm astonished. I genuinely thought the first comment was intended ironically. I laughed.

    I'm with SiBaW. CY/CS is a minhag, and if she marries you she's taking on your minhagim (unless you choose the reverse) so why are you so upset about it?

    You can take it as a sign of level of frumkeit, but lots of people don't see it that way. In many OOT locations, CS is a way of life, and not everyone changes their habits when they arrive in NYC. It's a short step from ditching a girl for a frappaccino to ditching her for using a plastic tablecloth on Shabbos.

    Plus, how can you take someone out on a date to Starbucks and then restrict them to one or two beverages that they may not like? It's like when guys schedule a date for 7:30pm, take me to Starbucks, and then say, "Oops, I hope you didn't have fleishigs for dinner." If anyone is inconsiderate, it's you.

  9. @ SiBaW. I would not go to a Starbucks on a date for that very reason. I have never been to starbucks before for the simple reasons that i A) dont drink coffee, and B) its not CY.

    Re finding out if the girl keeps CY, in the lubavitcher community that sort of goes without saying. Therefore, if on a date something like that would come up and it would be brought to my attention that she didnt keep CY, that shidduch prospect would be dead in the water right there. As a lubavitcher, CY is of just as much importance to me as covering hair etc.

    Again, as I clarified in my previous comment, I dont really know how things like this are looked at outside the chabad community and therefore coudnt say how it would be looked at there.

  10. Anon: Firstly Cholov Stam is NOT Cholov Akum! Second of all, I'm a bit shocked that a boy would be 'turned off' with something innocent as a girl ordering a drink, without having known about the boy's 'minhag' of cholov yisroel.
    Just to clarify to all, I'm talking about a first or second date, where the issue of cholov stam wouldn't have come up in small talk. At the same time, as someone whose been there & done that-I always assumed that guys who took me to a starbucks, actually drank starbucks drinks.
    Professor-I don't put cholov yisroel as a different hashkafa. It is something with the guy/girl has decided to take upon themselves or grew up keeping. People change, I have many friends who decided at the age of 12 to take it upon themselves to keep cholov yisroel.
    Also, just because you're goin out for a drink, doesn't mean you're promising to marry the guy and therefore have to change your 'derech' THERE and then.
    Shani-I'm with you. Imagine how many guys probably said no to me, just because after traveling 10+ hours to get to the big apple & being able to order my frapuccino/latte to keep me up, I inadvertently offended them.
    Wow! who would've thought that such a small thing as a coffee choice could be a decision maker on a date.
    and I'm the girl who actually cares about THE GUY, not the drink (well, as long as it isn't alcohol!)

  11. @ SOS. I think it all depends which community you are a part of. From what ive been led to understand, outside the Chabad community it isnt looked at as a different hashkafa, just as a chumra. In chabad however it is viewed as a basic thing. I therefore figure that as you are part of a totally different community with very different views, my comment is sort of moot as it wouldnt apply in your situation...

    (And, just fyi, acc to many poskim, cholov stam is a non existent concept. It is either cholov yisroel or not...)

  12. "For someone who keeps cholov yisroel, drinking cholov akum is "anti frumkiet"."

    Wow, Prof, it's so nice you have such a flattering opinion of those who are OK with OU-D (it is not akum! It is stam!) Me and my blogging sisters are all, apparently, irreligious!

    If you call up the OU, they will tell you that it is perfectly alright to go into ANY coffee place and add milk, since governmental standards are that all milk in the US is from a cow.

    I've heard stories from rabbis who said they went into diners to get themselves coffee.

    Not everyone is Lubavitch. But last I checked, still frum, by many observant standards.

  13. @ PL.

    I thought I made it rather clear as to when I would have such views of someone...

    Re point one: A) Cholov stam is (mostly) a feel good concept for those who dont want to keep cholov yisroel. At the end of the day, it boils down to whether something is cholov yisroel or not. B) Anti frumkeit is an apt definition. Contrary to the way many seem to look at it, cholov yisroel isnt a chumra; cholov akum (stam) is a heter. (one which acc to many shouldnt even be applicable today...). Looking at it in such a light, saying "anti frumkeit"...

    Re point two: The OU's opinion really makes little difference to me. There is a great teshuva by Reb Moshe Shteren (author of the Beer Moshe) about the OU.

    Stories about Rabbis make little difference to me. There are stories about the opposite as well. R' Moshe Feinstein, supposedly once went to the country for a holiday, with his family, and he asked one of his grandsons, for a cup of coffee. His grandson made one and gave it to him. R' Moshe started to drink it, he then asked his grandson where he got the milk from? His grandson replyed he had bought it from a local store. Hearing that Reb Moshe induced himself to throw up the bit of coffee he had drunk and scolded his grandson saying just because he gave a Hetter to certain people, who find it hard to live without cholov acum, and since the law in USA is such that it is not worth it for a company to add non Cow milk to the milk, it does not mean that Frum pepole should use Cholov Acum when ever it suits them, and he personaly would not use the hetter, and neither should his family.

  14. And there are also rabbanim who will not consume medication made from gelatin, despite the fact that it is not derech achilah AND medication. But halachically it is ok, which is what matters.

    Many things are heterim; like wigs, for instance. Lubavitch seems to be ok with that one.

    You were saying what you consider acceptable, strictly in terms of what you keep. That was not what Surfin' was asking.

    She was not asking "Is CS ok?" She keeps what her family keeps, and if a date happened to inform her in advance that he keeps CY that is one thing. But he didn't, and took her to a Starbucks which obviously doesn't have CY. The question wasn't regarding frumkeit; it was regarding etiquette.

  15. Wigs acc to Chabad Rabbanim are not a heter, but the preferable choice... No one says CA is the preferable choice...

    My original response was about partially agreeing with anon. I understand that this part of the CY topic was not what she was aiming for, however, someone brought up another ramification besides for simple etiquette or lack thereof and I commented on that.

  16. Wigs are preferable to what? A kerchief? A snood?

    To others besides Chabad a wig is a heter. Many Sephardim don't recognize wigs.

    Welcome a little gray area to your life.

  17. A kerchief. A hat. A snood. Anything.

    That is sort of besides besides the point. Nobody regards cholov akum (stam) as the preferable method. It is a heter acc to all, and a heter which acc to many shouldnt even apply now. Wigs on the otherhand are seen by many as the number 1 choice for hair covering. You are mixing two things which have little relevance or connection to one another.

  18. Um, no, many do NOT see wigs as preferable to fabric as hair coverings! To the rest of us Ashkenazim (ie non-Chabad), wigs are a heter.

    And you said CS is permitted via heter.

    Therefore, at least in my territory, both are permitted via heter. Hence the connection.

    Out of curiosity, do you have a source that wigs are preferable to hats/kerchiefs/snoods?

  19. Re point 1: Not completely correct. I unfortunately do not have the right sefarim on hand to give u direct quotes from quite a number of sources that ashkenazik rabanim do not regard wigs as a heter, but hope to get back on that later this evening...

    The "heter" to wear a wig and the heter to drink cholov akum are two very different types of heterim and have been accepted in two very differnt ways. A wig is an alternative method, while CA is completely giving up something.

  20. CS, CS, CS. Not CA.

    But, anywho, when reading your link, I know many rabbanim who would not necessarily agree with the position that a wig is preferable to other forms of hair covering. I would not say it is a general Ashkenazik position, but rather a Lubavitcher one.

  21. Same difference...

    That is not completely correct. Besides for that, whether it is preferable or not isnt necessarily the issue, its whetehr it is up to par / counts as a heter. I think i can safely say over 75% of ashkenazik rabbanim with say a wig is a lechatchila.

    There is a sefer called לקט שכחת הפאה which i would link to, but the link i had for a pdf of it is dead. It goes through the whole back and forth of the topic and is a very interesting read.

  22. You can safely say. But the men in my family would safely say otherwise.

  23. As I said, I hope to have access to the books I want later this evening and i will be able to provide u with direct sources / quotes then.