Now we’ve seen it all… Tefillin Barbie

Tefillin BarbieJust in time for Purim comes this item, yours for $95 plus tax, plus another $35 for the Sefer Torah. Truly unsure what to make of this, I called in my local expert on all things dolls and accessories: my eldest daughter.

“Is that supposed to be a boy or a girl?” she asked.

“A girl,” I told her.

“Then why is she wearing all the things men wear?”

Note the Steinsaltz Gemara in her right hand. See what happens when you let a girl learn Gemara?

My wife first noticed that the builder apparently has a set of Ritv”a from the Mossad HaRav. Then when she reached the last picture (of “Barbie leading Daf-Yomi shiur”) she was almost ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) quite literally. Happy Purim, indeed!

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24 comments to Now we’ve seen it all… Tefillin Barbie

  • Jewish Observer

    “See what happens when you let a girl learn Gemara?”

    – see what happens when you let Steinzaltz make a gemara

  • Gary Shulman

    So what? If she was wearing men’s clothes for licentious purposes or if a man wore female clothes for licentious purposes then it may be exhibiting a Torah prohibition. Here Barbie or is it Basya in our context is exhibiting a mitzvah asay shehazman grama, a positive Torah commandment which is time bound. Would we have the same uproar if Barbie/Basya were sitting in the Succah during Succos. True Gadol hametzuvah voseh mshainu mitzuvah voseh, greater is he that does a mitzvah commanded to him than one who volunteers to do a mitzvah.
    OK she may appear to be not tzniusdik. Well maybe its at a woman’s prayer group not based in Queens. Well its only a doll. Happy Purim!

  • Moshe

    It could be that she holds like R’ Meir and Shabbos/Yom Tov is a time in which there is still a Mitzvah to wear Tefillin.

    As such, it is not a mitzvas asei shehazman grama, and women are obligated to wear Tefillin.

    So in reality, Barbie is just being machmir.

  • Bob Miller

    I think Ken should file a grievance.

  • Reb Yid

    See what happens when Rashi lets his kids and grandkids become educated Jews?

  • Dr. E

    Does the techeiles on the tzitzis cost extra?

  • Chilled Yungerman

    Is that t’cheiles?

  • Micha Berger

    I believe the woman who makes the doll writes sifrei Torah, tefillin and mezuzos for a living. See , it’s from a blog titled “Vatichtov Esther”.

    Still, this Barbie appears to be styled after the look of a particular kind of Modern Orthodox woman, not the member of a community who would use a woman as a soferes (?). She wears a long denim skirt and a Gush Katif orange tee shirt. And, following the lead of many more vehemently religious-zionist *men* (as well as other students of Rav Herschel Schachter shlit”a), she is wearing tzitzis with a blue string. (I am assuming it is P’til Tekhelet blue, and not a Radziner chasidah in a tee shirt and denim.)

    -mi

  • Bob Miller

    1. I thought the song went “…techeiles Mordechai.” Have we male chauvinists been unfairly excluding Esther from this line?

    2. Will this breach now lead to the Avoda Zara Barbie?

  • Yisrael Moshe

    Various Halachik problems I noticed:
    (Note: This e-mail is for Purim Torah purposes only. For P’sak Halachah, contact your local Chareidi Rabbi. If no local Chareidi Rabbi is available, e-mail JewishAnswers.com. If you don’t have Internet access, then, as a last resort, you may contact a local Orthodox Rabbi!)

    1. She is learning Gemara (as noted by R’ Menken).
    2. Since she is wearing a Talit, she is probably married. Her hair is showing more then a Tefach.
    3. Her elbows are uncovered.
    4. She is wearing pants.
    5. She is holding a Sefer Torah (although it cannot be Mekabel Tumah, never-the-less the Bach(?) Paskins that it should not be done).
    6. Her Tefillin Shel Yad is uncovered.
    7. Her Tefillin Shel Rosh protrudes over the hairline.
    8. She is obviously on the wrong side of the Mechitza, rendering the Mechitza useless.
    9. She is obviously davening with a women’s prayer group.
    10. She is Laining out loud (Kol Ishah).
    11. Although her hat is black, it is not a true “Black hat”.
    12. She is wearing a hat but not a jacket.
    13. Her ponytail is obviously her real hair, not a Shaitel!

    This is only a partial list. For a complete listing of all of the issurim being violated by this barbie doll, see R’ Yaakov’s soon to be published book, entitled “Almost as bad as Lashon Hara: Tefillin Barbie’s 162 Issurim unmasked!”

    Chag Sameach and a happy Purim!

  • Yaakov Menken

    Bob (comment #4), as it so happens, my English name is Kenneth, given by parents who named me after a great-grandfather but who were not enamored of Jacob.

    During my own journey through the “shidduch process,” it was my pleasure to meet young women named Leah & Rachel (not to mention women named for the other imahos and more other names than I care to specify — for the record, I was never introduced to a Bilhah or Zilpah).

    But then there was Barbara. We would have been teased for life!

    On a more serious note, as far as the author is concerned… it is true that she is a soferet. But she is also clearly very respectful of Halacha and more traditional opinions. See http://www.geniza.net/about/faq.shtml , and especially what she says about writing mezuzos, which concludes, “giving a mezuzah by me to an Orthodox Jew without telling them I wrote it would be really, really mean.”

    This, unlike much of what is bandied about today, is genuine Eilu v’Eilu thinking and respect for the other, worthy of Hillel v’Shammai. Give her credit for that!

  • Jewish Observer

    “I thought the song went “…techeiles Mordechai”

    – this is the wittiest thing I have read on this site!

  • One who knows

    4. She is not wearing pants!
    5. Sifrei Torah can be mekabel tumah (Bava Batra 20a-b).

  • DMZ

    R’ Menken makes a good point. The soferet, regardless of whether her stuff is actually kosher, deserves praise for at least being honest about both sides of the issue, and going to the lengths she does to care about halacha. She also looks extremely adept at her craft, too. Kudos to her – she’s the sort that keeps the Conservative movement (which I’m guessing she’s part of) at least semi-respectable. Those are the sort of non-Orthodox-but-observant Jews I can have honest respect for (in a Jewish observance sense).

    And that Steinsaltz comment at the top of the comments was hilarious. Nice one, JO.

  • Joel Rich

    WADR and even taking into account the Purim Torah nature of the posts, R’ Steinsaltz if not Rabbi Steinsaltz, would be more appropriate.
    KT

  • Mordechai

    While we have the idea of Purim Torah we need to make sure we don’t stray into Motzei Sheim Ra. When we make fun of the idea of women learning Talmud we make fun of gedolim such as Rav Soloveitchik Z”L who poskened not only women can learn Gemorra but that women should learn gemorrah.

    Many serious halachically observant women follow this psak. It is an insult to these Bat Yisrael to redicule their behavior. Even if one holds the opinion women should not learn Gemorrah one need to recognize and respect those who hold differently

  • Jewish Observer

    “R’ Steinsaltz if not Rabbi Steinsaltz, would be more appropriate.”

    – wasn’t he put in cherem by the (our haredi) gedolim?

  • Jewish Observer

    “Even if one holds the opinion women should not learn Gemorrah one need to recognize and respect those who hold differently”

    – good one!

  • InTheKnow

    “Kudos to her – she’s the sort that keeps the Conservative movement (which I’m guessing she’s part of) at least semi-respectable.”

    It’s a good thing you said “guess” and not “assume”, because you know what happens in the latter case . . .

  • SM

    It’s Purim – so this is obviously Ken. Problem solved (hic)!

  • Rudy Wagner

    She wears t’fillin on the wrong arm!

    According to the picture provided by One who knows, she is wearing t’fillin and holding a siddur with her left hand, clear evidence of her being left handed. The T’fillin should be on the right hand…

    Proof: while your right hand is empty, would you pick up a siddur with your left hand bound with a rezuah (leather strap) and lift it above your head? No way!

    Purim Sameach!

  • Yisrael Moshe

    A little more Purim fun:

    “According to the picture provided by One who knows, she is wearing t’fillin and holding a siddur with her left hand, clear evidence of her being left handed. The T’fillin should be on the right hand…” – Rudy Wagner

    I can explain that one. You see, the Shel Yad needs to be Keneged Halev. Now, since an Isha is an “Ezer Kenegdo”, then she must do the opposite of her husband. Since her husband (who is obviously left-handed) puts his Tefillin on his right arm, she must do the opposite and wrap her Tefillin on her left arm. Its Pushut.

    The better question is how she can execute a perfect Hagbah, effortlessly, with a big smile, without any muscle, on a heavy Sefer Torah, with her Tefillin still wrapped around her hand!

    Can anybody explain that to me?

    Chag Purim Sameach.

  • Bob Miller

    “The better question is how she can execute a perfect Hagbah, effortlessly, with a big smile, without any muscle, on a heavy Sefer Torah, with her Tefillin still wrapped around her hand!
    Can anybody explain that to me?”

    This involves dark forces from the Other Side.

  • Nachum

    I once dated a woman, not at all muscular, who has no problem doing hagba, or so she told me. I’m sure she smiles while doing it. I don’t think she wears tefillin, though, particularly not on Shabbat. :-)