The Burqa Quandary, Continued

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Three weeks ago, I wrote about the quandary posed for Torah Jews by the bans on the wearing of the burqa being debated in Europe. Not surprisingly, the Orthodox world has spawned its own burqa wearers – mostly centered in Beit Shemesh. If modesty is a good thing, they apparently believe, the more the better. The Eidah Hachareidis, which has never been accused of nonchalance in matters of tznius, begs to differ. The Eidah intends to ban the burqa.

Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim, a senior Eidah leader, labeled the wearing of a burqa an unhealthy “obsession.” He went so far to say that whenever one finds such obsessions, far beyond the requirements of normative halacha, one must be wary of “severe transgressions.” (That prediction has already proven to be the case with respect to the leader of the burqa wearers.)

Indeed, I once heard from one of the generation’s leading ba’alei hashkafa that the extreme obsession with modesty among the Ishmaelites is a proof to Chazal’s statement that Yishmael inherited nine of the ten portions of licentiousness that came into the world – as is their picture of the world to come as a place of debauchery.

On the issue of the European bans, Claire Berlinski had an interesting take in the August 16 National Review. Berlinski lives in Turkey, where burqas have proliferated over the last five years. She examines various arguments why such bans might not constitute infringement of religious liberty, and concludes, on many of the same grounds that I did, that these arguments are weak: “Let’s be perfectly frank. These bans are outrages against religious freedom and freedom of expression. . . . The argument that the garment is not a religious obligation under Islam is well-founded but irrelevant; million of Muslims around the world believe that it is. . . . “ And she acknowledges that it is “cruel to demand of a woman that she reveal [what] her sense of modesty compels her to cover.”

Nevertheless, Berlinski argues, the burqa must be banned. If the burqa becomes the standard of modesty in European Muslim communities, any woman who does not wear one, whether she is Muslim or not, will find soon herself subject to physical assault by Muslim men who view any woman they consider immodestly dressed to be fair game. She adduced European crime statistics to support her point. Bans on the burqa, she concludes, are a “sign of a desperate society.” But things have gone so far in Europe that they are necessary.

I argued in the earlier piece that there is a compelling state interest in banning the burqa is with respect to airport security. Apparently Canadian airports don’t think so, according to Daniel Pipes August 3 weblog. Even though all air travellers are supposed to show photo identification, that requirement is frequently waived by security personnel in both Toronto and Montreal’s airports for Muslims (presumably women) whose faces are veiled. Air Canada even threatened to sue one traveler who took a video of these security breeches.

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41 Responses

  1. Esther says:

    What a lucky man you are. Silly me, I thought nobody gets out of their clutches with his sanity intact. Reb Dovid, we all know and appreciate what Lubavich does. We all know and unappreciate, or underappreciate, what Satmar does. If Lubavich had done for a Satmar yid what Satmar has done for Rubashkin, we’d never hear the end of it. But when Satmar yidden go out of their way to provide financial help in astronomical numbers for a member of a community that has caused them (directly or indirectly) much heartbreak, all are mum. And when the Aidah assers the burka, all you can think of is the shaving of chassidish women. Does this kind of behavior ring a bell? Here’s a hint: Anti-S______.

    “The Alter of Slobodka said the first commandment in Yiddishkeit is: “Don’t be a fool.” (Heard it from R. Avigdor Miller.)”

    Yeah, and I’m sure the Alter would much prefer a pork-eating Ph.D. over this foolish, ignorant, brainwashed Satmar girl. (Let alone R’ Miller, who exclaims in one of his shiurim about Satmar, “We have to LOVE these people!”) Reb Dovid, ראשית חכמה יראת השם. The smartest בעל עבירה is ten thousand times more foolish than the simplest frum Jew. It’s one thing when you twist my words, but leave our gedolim alone.

    The way you carry on about my un-PC label, you’d think I spat into their faces “Chazer-fresser!”, or at least posted that comment on porkeaters.com. I don’t learn gemora, but here is what the חפץ חיים wrote (and I’m sure he knew about the gemorah you mention):

    וכל אלו הדינין שכתבנו, הוא דוקא באיש שמנהגו ודרכו להתחרט על חטאיו, אבל אם בחנת את דרכו, כי אין פחד אלוקים לנגד עיניו… או שאינו נזהר מעבירה אחת אשר כל שער עמו יודעים שהיא עבירה… מותר להכלימו ולספר בגנותו בין בפניו ובין שלא בפניו

    OK, now it’s the chofetz chaim’s turn to have his words twisted or taken out of context or misconstrued to PC perfection. Seems I’m in good company.

  2. dovid 2 says:

    Esther,

    Rabbi Ephraim Simon, the director of Friends of Lubavitch of Bergen County in Teaneck, N.J., saved a Satmar chasid’s life by donating one of his kidneys, knowing full well who the recipient would be. (I could provide the link if the CC moderator allows.) Was this unusual? Not at all. Lubavitch chasidim helped me out in several critical circumstances, knowing full well I was not one of their own. All they knew was that I was in dire need. They did it discreetly, cheerfully, generously, and competently. And they never tried to snatch me.

  3. dovid 2 says:

    The Alter of Slobodka said the first commandment in Yiddishkeit is: “Don’t be a fool.” (Heard it from R. Avigdor Miller.) The girl’s statement “Whoever bult the Kosel will never get out of gehenom.” is indicative of a burqa-style society whose members brainwash their children and turn them into fools. Most likely the girl thought or was taught that the “zionim” built the Kosel. BTW, the Kosel was not erected by Shlomo, but by Hurdus HaMelech who very likely took up residence in gehinom at least for a while, for murdering all the chachamim he was able to capture. Since we talk about gehinom, the gemara in Arachin, 15a&b assures those calling fellow Jews haser fressers a place in gehinom.

  4. Esther says:

    Note: “Fressen” is commonly used in Yiddish to denote eating like a rasha (like using “pawing” for inappropriate touching). Nazis always “fress” in Holocaust stories told in Yiddish, no matter how mannered they ate, as does a Jew who knowingly, במזיד, eats treif, or without a bracha. About these דוד המלך says, הלא משנאיך ה’ אשנא ובתקוממך אתקוטט תכלית שנאה שנאתים לאויבים היו לי – hateful words indeed. If there is a Jew who doesn’t know that pork is forbidden, the term “Chazer fresser” would not apply to him, i.e. he’s not one of those I used as an example of אהבת רשעי ישראל vs. true אהבת ישראל including Eidah, Satmar, etc.

    R’ Dovid, one story for you before we part ways, to help you forgive those boys, by now fathers of 5-6 kids, who may be suffering right now for the pain they still cause you. It made its rounds as a joke but it’s unfortunately true: A Satmar girl said, “Whoever bult the Kosel will never get out of gehenom.” Does this girl hate Shlomo Hamelech? Call her clueless, ignorant, stupid, dumb, foolish, crazy – but leave “hateful” to those who really hate you and me, joking among themselves about all chareidim being gassed by Hitler.

    Also, please reread my comments before pouncing on me with ridiculous misunderstandings. I think I made it clear enough that I DO make it a priority to broaden my kids’ horizons and teach them derech eretz, and as a result they B”H DO respect every person and would never ask an adult any personal questions, let alone such stupid ones. If I didn’t do that, though, being as insulated as other kids in my circles, they’d (ch”v) be like your former students. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive them and their parents and grandparents, most of whom are kind and goodhearted people whose own ignorance was passed down from their parents, all the way back to Hungary. This is what אהבת ישראל is about. In this zechus may you be blessed with a Gut Yohr and “Ah giten tumid”, as the Hungarians say.

  5. rachel w says:

    You sertainly bring up some valid points. And to tell you the truth, it does not bother me in the least whether people (bochurim, mostly) become Lubavitch, Satmar, Pupa, Ger, Karlin or what have you. The Ikar is that their hearts are directed towards “Avihem Shebashamayim” (their Father in Heaven). (Even though I never heard anyone accusing Satmar or Pupa of actively recruiting new members.)

    So, since this fight is not mine, I will drop out. Wishing one and all a Gut/Git Gebensched Yahr.

  6. dovid 2 says:

    It’s safe to assume that most members of various chasidishe communities are what they are (Satmar, Wishnitz, Lubavitch, Gur, Bobov, etc.) because they believe that’s the best thing one can be. Otherwise, they wouldn’t stay with that chasidus. Lubavitch chasidim, like the other chasidim, believe that being Lubavitch is the best thing one can be. Lubavitch don’t snatch or coerce Jews to become Lubavitchers. Let me give you a famous example. Shlomo Carlebach was a Yid with an exceptional yichus and learning talents, in addition to his musical talents that he is most known for. As Rabbi Lau put it, Reb Shlomo came from one of the most aristocratic families in the world of Torah of pre-war Germany. He was among the metzuyanim at Yeshiva Torah v’Daas, chosen to be sent to learn in Lakewood with Reb Aharon Kotler, when the yeshiva in Lakewood consisted of a small chabura of exceptionally-gifted talmidim. Yes, Shlomo Carlebach learned with Reb Aharon and was beloved by him. After a while, Reb Shlomo drifted to Lubavitch. No one snatched or coerced him. Eventually, he drifted further. An earlier comment in this thread stated that an individual by the name of Mendel Vechter is a Lubavitch snatcher of Satmar bachurim. This person used to be himself a Satmar Chasid and a Rosh Yeshiva of a Satmar yeshiva. He also drifted to Lubavitch. No one snatched or coerced him, neither does he do anything of these idiotic things. I find it amazing that people are willing to say and/or believe just anything they hear about Lubavitch. We can’t people acknowledge that Lubavitch has appeal to some Yiden? While they may have their problems, neither I, nor you, Esther, or any other commentator on this thread is qualified to criticize them because we don’t have a clue in many of the issues. On the other hand, Lubavitch has earned a place in kiruv rechokim that no one else came close to it. There are tens of thousands of Yiden today who started off Torah and mitzvos observance with Lubavitch. Those with affinity for Lubavitch chasidus stayed with them. Others moved further. Some of them are learning today in the top litvishe yeshivos and kollelim in America and Israel. We are talking of millions of mitzvos performed everyday by people who otherwise may have ended intermarrying and getting lost. These people bring tremendous nachas to Hashem. Does that count for something to you and Esther? Were they also snatched and coerced as you and Esther would like to make us believe? Get real.

  7. rachel w says:

    I’m a little late picking up on this thread (after all, it was Erev Shabbos, Yom Tov…)

    Sorry-R’ Dovid, it is common knowledge that Chabad does try to “convert” frum people from outside Lubavitch. I once attended a gathering in Crown Heights, over 30 years ago, and the hostess introduced her mother to the guest speaker as “The one who brought [her husband] to Lubavitch.” I asked where he was from previously. The answer was “Torah Vodaath”. But, it seems as though they felt that becoming a Lubavitcher brought him to the real Yiddishkeit.

    In any case, Rav Avigdor Miller Zatzal did not send recruiters to Satmar looking for new members. Those who joined were indeed searching for something which they found by him. Chabad, OTOH, does send very smart, charismatic people to other chassidusim and yeshivos looking for people to join. Many of those who do become Lubavitchers were not even searching for something different; they just got caught up in it. Your Vizhnitzer Chassid friend obviously does not know everything.

    Also, another point. The whole Raison D’etre of Lubavitch is to expose others to Yiddishkeit. The chesed they do (absolutely wholeheartedly-no one would argue with that) is an outgrowth of the upbringing. Satmar, OTOH, is trained to be insular. The Bikur Cholim and other chessed that they do goes against that grain and is an outpouring of their Ahavas Yisroel, for which they are underacknowledged.

  8. dovid 2 says:

    “And when you blame it on us refering to chazer-fressers as what they are (unlike Satmar, they ARE excluded from עמך FYI)”

    Wow!! You are also paskining. Are you a raba of sorts? For our information (to paraphrase you), please enlighten us as to the basis in halacha for your heter to call a Jew chazer-fresser. What are your sources? The Chafetz Chaim was no authority in the issues of chazer and fressers, but he was and still is the undisputed authority in hilchos shmiras halashon. He writes that the category of עמך excludes mummar lechachis (rebel whose intent is to spite), but includes everyone else, mummar leteavon as well. Mummar leteavon is a rebel due to temptation. As such, the pasuk ‘Loh selech rachil beamaicha’ forbids derogatory and harmful remarks addressed to any member of k’lal Israel, except for those in the category of mummar lechachis. The Chafetz Chaim writes that it’s our obligation to educate the non-observant Jew with love, care, and sensitivity and it is strictly forbidden to speak loshon horah against him. For your own good, I strongly advise you ask a mature Jewish male to run by you meseches Arachin, Daf tes-vav Amud aleph starting with the Mishna till end of Amud beis presto prestissimo, before sh’kia tomorrow (approx. 7:17pm).

  9. dovid 2 says:

    Esther, your comment “I and my husband have nothing but love for our fellow Jews” fails the credibility test.

    Yiddish has several words to indicate the action of eating: (1) essen (eating like a human being) , (2) noshen (snacking), and (3) fressen which refers to animal eating, but colloquially is extended to humans who eat ravenously, noisily, and in great quantity, namely, the Yiddish for “pig out”. Esther, der Aibishter never ever called a Jew chazer-fresser, no matter what they did. Even when they commited the worst aveiros in the Torah. Neither did the Neviim, Chazal, Rishonim, or Acharonim. One cannot find a kind word in your eight comments in this thread totaling the 1884 words for anyone outside your community, except for your boot-sporting Sqwerer chassid.

    The reality of today is such that the majority of the Yiden don’t observe kashrus as they don’t observe other mitzvos. Hashem knows that and so do we. But never in the history of Yiddishkeit, did a Yid started keeping kashrus because someone called him chazer-fresser. For your information, bonim attem laHashem Elokeichem includes even those who are oiver on mitzvos Hashem. A father must deal with the children he has, some good, some not so good. You will never achieve anything trashing your fellow Jews. Chabad’s immense success in making tens of thousands of Jews mitzvah-observant is attributed to their patient and loving nudging of the non-observant among us. They would never offend a non-observant Jew, not even the more obnoxious ones. Some baalei teshuvah remain affiliated with them, others go elsewhere like Aish HaTorah, Ohr Somayach, etc. Everyone according to what his soul thirsts for. When I told over to a Vishnitz Chassid your horror stories about husky Satmar bachurim being snatched by Lubavich, he roared with laughter. When I asked him whether there have been cases of Vishnitz bachurim snatched by Lubavitch, he told me to see a shrink. What you conveniently left out of your bubbe meise was that Mendel Vechter originally was a Satmar chassid AND a Rosh Yeshiva of a Satmar yeshiva who joined Chabad. And he is not the only one among Satmar or among observant Jews who joined Chabad. I remember seeing Satmar Chassidim coming regularly to Rabbi Avigdor Miller’s Slobodka-type mussar shiurim in Flatbush on Thursday nights. Rabbi Miller didn’t snatch them either. Again, everyone according to what his soul thirsts for.

    The attitudes of Satmar children I mentioned in an earlier comment are here with them and us after 25 Yom Kippurs. You are writing that given your many chores, you and your friends have little time to enlighten your children. Our mothers and wives are also busy. Still, we never call anyone chazer-fresser. These toxic attitudes and comments are around because adults like you who serve as their role models nurture these attitudes.

  10. Esther says:

    A rezhvulke is a silk overcoat worn over the bekeshe Friday night. BTW Thanks for your comment, R. O. Breath of fresh air. Please try to write along these lines more often, here and on other sites.

    R’ Dovid, I can’t believe you made a mish-mash of my comments again. This is ridiculous. I can’t keep untwisting my words. It’s erev shabbos/yom tov, you know. Just a few points.

    “Boots and shtreimls ain’t going to help.”
    Agreed. No shaichus. I was addressing two different complaints. (1) ladies pics, movies, TV etc. hurt the eyes, minds, souls. (2) Shtreimels etc. disprove chassidic male chauvinism. (Please reread my comment above.)

    Boots are worn only by farbrente Skverer!!! (Can you hear me now?)

    “Tznius and sh’miras einayim are big challenges to every honest Jewish man and woman in the frum world. I saw no evidence that Chassidim are less challenged in these areas.”
    Of course not. The question is how they deal with those challenges. If you choose to be blind to the difference, I can’t help it.

    “Can you tell me, if the Yeshivishe velt were truly in crisis as you would like us to believe, how can you explain that Chassidim flock to Litvische yeshivos (Lakewood, Ponovitz, Mir in Yerushalaim, Brisk, Slobodka), while there is no comparable traffic the other way?”
    Mish-mash again. Yeshivos are for learning. The crisis is in shidduchim. The Chassidim go to litvishe yeshivos for their unmatched level of learning. Litvaks come to rebbishe tishen for warmth in yiddishkeit. And both marry their own.

    “In my case there was no mistaken identity as I speak with a distinct Hungarian accent, just like their grandparents speak.”
    Mish-mash again. Tzippi only gave an example of lack of exposure.

    “Do you honestly believe “Lubavitcher “missionaries” planted in Satmar yeshiva snatched dozens of young Satmar bochurim and converted them to Chabad” as you would like us to believe?”

    Yes. They’re known as Vechteristen by the name of their leader Mendel Vechter. I attended a wedding between my Lubavicher cousin and a Vechterist. Their wives still wear the tzniusdig Satmar levush, but the way those girls were dressed, and how they jumped and screamed – you could weep.

    “Esther, you are paranoid.” Thanks for your free psychoanalisys. Delusional, paranoid… labeling means you and I know I’m right. (Like libs calling Obama-critics racist etc.) Here’s my comment again:

    “Still not a single positive comment? The Badatz issued an issur against burkas and none of you, not even the sensible ones, can find it in your heart to express joy and appreciation? Not even something along the lines of, “Wow, finally, the frummies are doing the right thing. Let’s pray they keep it up.” Is the chasm between us so wide, the animosity so deep? I’m saddened beyond words.”

    Does this sound paranoid? Is this a blanket condemnation? Of course there’s tremendous chessed between us. כולנו בני איש אחד אנחנו after all. But hardly ever is our part acknowledged on Orthodox sites. (I think R. O.’s last comment was the first here.) You are the ones constantly talking about אהבת ישראל even for the worst Jews, so when none of you can find a kind thought for fellow yidden when they do great things (Rubashkin, burka), it’s a “man bites dog” situation. And when you blame it on us refering to chazer-fressers as what they are (unlike Satmar, they ARE excluded from עמך FYI), or on a bunch of naughty boys calling you names 25 yom kippurs ago… well, talk about paranoid.

    BTW I’m STILL waiting for one person here to say, “Kol Hakavod to Badatz for their courage.” I might as well wait for moshiach, but couldn’t we hasten his arrival with mutual respect?

    כתיבה וחתימה טובה everyone, and please forgive me if I hurt anyone’s feelings. I just wanted to present the other side for a change. I won’t do it again. Gut Shabbos.

  11. L. Oberstein says:

    rezhvulke – what is that?
    On the question of middos tovos of Satmar or Lubavitch,etc. I have benefited from the kindnesses of both. Satmar is known for its extraordinary chesed, tzedakah and zealotry. The Satmat Rav tried to save non frum Jews during the Holocaust, it is documented. On the other hand, he was vehement in his anti-zionism. That is not sinah, it is loyalty to his conceptualization. That is why he could be maspid rav Aharon Kotler, even if they had different views. Naybe the denigration of outsiders by some kids is because they are taught to have a strong group identity and to look upon anyone different as ,well, “different”. Satmar is not alone in that. There are plenty of other people who put people into catagories and look down on ones that they disapprove of. That is a fitting thought for Erev Rosh Hashana, to see beyond the superficial. As far as Lubavitch, they are there for any Jew no matter where on earth he finds himself and they devote their lives to saving neshomos , they are the paradign of “Arvus”, they really do care for every Jew.

  12. dovid 2 says:

    “after a few minutes of hearing my mid-Atlantic drawl”

    In my case there was no mistaken identity as I speak with a distinct Hungarian accent, just like their grandparents speak.

  13. dovid 2 says:

    Esther, you are paranoid. No one hates Satmar. Only that Satmar makes it hard to love them when they call others chazer-fressers as you just did. I regularly daven mincha in Satmar as many non-Satmar Yiden do, and regularly give rides to Satmar bachurim to their yeshiva or back to their dorms, as many non-Satmar Yiden do.

    Do you honestly believe “Lubavitcher “missionaries” planted in Satmar yeshiva snatched dozens of young Satmar bochurim and converted them to Chabad” as you would like us to believe? How come no one had comparable complaints? I have been at the receiving end of immense chesed from Lubavitcher Chassidim, all done cheerfully, with no ulterior reasons. Truth to be said, the Satmar Bikur Cholim likewise helps every Yid in need, regardless of the person’s level of observance or affiliation. May we all learn from these examples to be less judgemental of our fellow Jews and be more acceptable of differences in approaches, while upholding d’var Hashem as expressed in the Shulchan Aruch and mussar sefarim. May we all have a good gebentched yahr.

  14. dovid 2 says:

    Esther: “I’m convinced if the Yeshivishe velt put proper emphasis on tznius and shmiras einayim, there would be no crisis.”

    Esther, you are either misinformed or delusional. Tznius and sh’miras einayim are big challenges to every honest Jewish man and woman in the frum world. I saw no evidence that Chassidim are less challenged in these areas. Boots and shtreimls ain’t going to help. Learning and internalizing the teachings of Mesilas Yesharim will. Can you tell me, if the Yeshivishe velt were truly in crisis as you would like us to believe, how can you explain that Chassidim flock to Litvische yeshivos (Lakewood, Ponovitz, Mir in Yerushalaim, Brisk, Slobodka), while there is no comparable traffic the other way?

  15. Esther says:

    R’ Dovid, pictures painted by outsiders are notoriously skewed, especially when depicting Jews, Israel, Orthodox, Charedim, Chassidim or Satmar. (That’s besides the “man bites dog” rule.)

  16. Esther says:

    Bais Rochel in Monsey is just about the most modern “chassidishe” school in the US. Boro Park comes close. Please don’t compare the worst of us to the best of yours.

  17. tzippi says:

    To Dovid 2: you may have a point, but when I subbed in a chassidic (not Satmar) NY school a few years before your experience, and after a few minutes of hearing my mid-Atlantic drawl the girls asked if I was from….England. I think it was due more to lack of exposure than any deliberate sin of commission.

  18. Esther says:

    “Who gave them these ideas?” Nobody. They’re young and ignorant and extremely sheltered. The problem is that nobody gave them the idea that other frum Jews are also frum. This is a symptom of Hungarian narrow-mindedness (Belz is Polish-Galicianish, Beis Dovid is Litvish.), not frumkeit or ch”v animosity. The mothers – if they know the difference between UO, O, MO and secular – are too busy cleaning, shopping and baking kokosh cake to teach the kids manners and broaden their minds. I and my husband have nothing but love for our fellow Jews, but if I hadn’t taken the time and effort to explain to my kids that other frum Jews are also fine, they’d have no idea. A really nice young woman told me a story in all innocence, “I was on a bus and a freia (secular) Yid with a small yarmulke…” She doesn’t hate anyone; she’s CLUELESS! And if she’d been a rambunctious boy, she might’ve asked him, “Are you Jewish?”

    “Esther, a few months ago, you wrote that EVEN Satmar in Monroe demonstrated in favor of Reb Shalom Rubashkin. Don’t you see the kitrug in your own words and attitude?”

    R. Dovid, Satmar is ideologically diametrically opposed to Pro-Zionist Lubavitch. Lubavitcher “missionaries” planted in Satmar yeshiva snatched dozens of young Satmar bochurim and converted them to Chabad, causing terrible pain to their parents. Yet when Rubashkin needed help, Satmar came through with flying colors. They saw him not as an adversary, but as a fellow yid, just like their saintly rebbe z”l taught them. This you call animosity?! Let me see Lubavichers, Litvaks, ANYONE, rallying to help Satmar inmates like Mordche Yitzchok Samet, or even just displaying a little appreciation and אהבת ישראל.

    What pains me is to see all kinds of excuses for, and whitewashings of, the worst chazer-fressers, and demands to appreciate their smallest virtue, yet not a kind word about yidden who are frummer than thou. How about applying some אהבת ישראל to Satmar? Even if they’re wrong, what about הוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות? Are they excluded? Even if you feel they hate you, are you allowed to hate them back? The chilonim don’t exactly love you, yet you’re convinced you must love them as Jews. Is Satmar worse than chilonim?

  19. dovid 2 says:

    Esther, health care professionals and social workers working with your community paint a different picture than the one you shared with us in your comment dated Aug, 31, at 7:38pm. In addition, my daughters who learned in Bais Rochel in Monsey that has a large contingent of chasidische girls told me that incidents of lack of tznius occur with rather equal frequency among chasidishe girls as well. The issues of tzinus, sh’miras einayim are more difficult to uphold today than ever before because we have more interaction with the secular world, and because the Gentile world has lost all sense of self dignity. Sixty years ago, a Gentile woman was dressed like a decent human being, men were wearing hats and suits, and their language was clean.

  20. Dov says:

    Following on to Esther and Dovid’s comments regarding “the chasm between us:”

    I write as someone who spent years living in a predominantly chareidi neighborhood in Jerusalem. I wear a black hat and suit on Shabbat. I daven often in chareidi shteiblach. And I often discuss big decisions with a Chassidic Rebbe. I feel very little “chasm” on a personal level.

    But a few blocks from where I live there are signs in the streets saying “no entrance to Zionists.” People from that neighborhood have no trouble coming into my neighborhood to ask for tzedaka, but put up signs claiming to refuse entrance to fellow Jews, to the people who give them tzedaka and buy in their stores and give them tremps (rides).

    I hate the chasm you refer to, and am angry at the people that create it.

  21. dovid 2 says:

    “Is the chasm between us so wide, the animosity so deep?”

    Esther, the animosity is as deep as the Satmar community nurtures and cultivates it. When I taught general studies at the United Talmudic Academy (a Satmar cheder with branches in Brooklyn, Monsey, Monroe, etc.), some 25 years ago, talmidim would ask me whether I am Jewish, whether I keep kashrus, whether I eat matza on Pesach, and other questions along the same lines. Where did they get it? I had proper attire, and my demeanor has been that of a Charedi young person. I taught in the same period in the Belzer cheder and Bais Dovid in Monsey, also a predominantly chasidische cheder. No one asked me such questions. Who gave them these ideas? Their parents and rebbis? They were not born with them. Esther, a few months ago, you wrote that EVEN Satmar in Monroe demonstrated in favor of Reb Shalom Rubashkin. Don’t you see the kitrug in your own words and attitude?

  22. Esther says:

    Dov, did I paint a rosy picture? Did I say all’s fine and dandy? Just don’t paint a thorny picture, thank you.

    “The stress to marry quickly… and to live up to the strong expectations of a community, all have consequences as well.” Of course. But the positive consequences outweigh the negative ones by far.

    “to marry based on dowry” – Are you kidding? You think we’re living in the shtetl, where a dowry could mean the difference between starvation and bread on the table? Nobody marries for money these days, at least no more than those in the outside world. There are other petty impediments to shiduchim among chassidim, but none as superficial as looks. Good looks are way down on the list of qualifications for shiduchim. Does she come from a good home? Does she have good middos & yiras shomayim? Is she healthy? Smart? Oh, and does she look fine too? Good, that’s a plus. Only the very ugliest and fattest of girls might have a hard time finding a shidduch, and even they will eventually find an innocent boy who thinks she is beautiful because she looks younger than his mother.

    No TV, radio, internet, secular magazines or newspapers means purer souls, purer minds, purer eyes, intent on remaining pure. Our low divorce rate is also attributable to straighter priorities. So the marriage isn’t perfect, so what? Is that a reason to divorce and make your ten kids miserable?

    Granted, some couples are unhappily married to avoid stigma, or more likely for the sake of their chidren, and some are not very happily married, but most of these are happier by far than unhappily married couples in the outside world or divorcees. Why?

    1.Shmiras eynayim again. The overwhelming majority of unhappily married women, and virtually all unhappily married men, as miserable as they are, never experience the excruciating pain of knowing or even suspecting that their spouse is slightly involved with someone else.

    2. Nachas multiplied. Imagine being the king or queen of ten adult children who know and appreciate how much you’ve suffered and sacrificed so that they shouldn’t have to go through the pain and shame (yes, stigma again) of growing up in a broken home. Yes, you’re unhappy about your marriage, but how much happiness, satisfaction and self-esteem you gain just watching your dozens of lovely grandkids – all thanks to your efforts. And how many simchas! Who has time to THINK about divorce?

    3. A different value system. This world is temporary. So life isn’t perfect, so what? Man does not live on love alone. “We weren’t put in this world to lick honey,” is a favorite expression of ours. If you lived a life of Torah and mitzvos and you leave children who will bring you honor in this world and the next, you’re considered a tremendous success.

    Not everyone lives up to this ideal, of course, but this IS the ideal – and that’s way more than you can say of contemporary society, or even other orthodox streams.

  23. Esther says:

    Still not a single positive comment? The Badatz issued an issur against burkas and none of you, not even the sensible ones, can find it in your heart to express joy and appreciation? Not even something along the lines of, “Wow, finally, the frummies are doing the right thing. Let’s pray they keep it up.” Is the chasm between us so wide, the animosity so deep? I’m saddened beyond words.

  24. Bob Miller says:

    Regarding the comment by L. Oberstein of August 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm :

    Those who instigate such extreme practices have no confidence in their fellow Orthodox Jews or are engaging in competitive frumkeit (“can you top this?”). Either attitude disqualifies someone from leadership.

  25. Dov says:

    Esther, while I think you have a point about shmiras einayim, I don’t think that the picture in the chassidishe olam is as rosy as you paint it out to be. The stress to marry quickly, to marry based on dowry, and to live up to the strong expectations of a community, all have consequences as well. Yes, the divorce rate is not growing as quickly as in the non-chassidishe olam, and the shidduch crisis may not be apparent, but the divorce rate IS rising, and reports from the inside indicate that it comes out in other ways, such as delays or skipping of toveling, depression, and other things that don’t need to be mentioned here. The Eida Chareidis reports that the burkas are pushed by women against the opinions of their husbands, which makes many think that they are a reflection of deeper problems that are not coming out in divorce or a “crisis” but are there nonetheless. Bottom line, there are tahor ways to be shomer einayim and there is shmiras einayim that reflects something tamei.

  26. A in LA says:

    Wasn’t Tamar’s full veiling an indication of her attempt to appear as a practitioner of the “oldest profession”?

    The notion of adopting the uniform of those who would dhimmify or kill us is hideous.

  27. L. Oberstein says:

    We are living in challenging times. Most Jews are so far from observance that they don’t even fret when eating a cheeseburger on Pesach. The other extreme may be a reaction to the shmutz of the world. But , I don’t want to become a fanatic just because someone else is off the derech. There has to be a stand for normality, for regular frumkeit, for sensible belief in science . The inmates have overtaken the assylum.

  28. Big Maybe says:

    To dovid 2: Esther implied no such thing. You mashed together her response to Rabbi O and her response to Arnie.

    Arnie: Yated, Mishpacha and others aren’t practicing a chumra, they are catering to their readership. They are aware of a material segment which will not allow a newspaper/magazine into the home if it includes pictures of women. So they quietly don’t show them, and sell more paper.

  29. Esther says:

    P.S. Boots are worn only by devout Skverer.
    By “shidduch non-crisis” I meant among the Chassidishe oilom. Our boys have no idea what size 2 means, let alone the difference between size 4 and size 8. I’m convinced if the Yeshivishe velt put proper emphasis on tznius and shmiras einayim, there would be no crisis.

  30. Esther says:

    No, I was addressing two different complaints. (1) Shaving my blond, thick, wavy hair didn’t exactly make me happy (tho my daughter can’t wait to get rid of her unmanageable, steel-wool hair whan she gets married), but I realize that our men “opress” themselves no less their women. Besides, the Chasam Sofer was not a cheider-yingel and if he thought it’s necessary, I’m willing to sacrifice my hair.

    (2) Not having pics of women displayed makes me *very, very* happy (and possibly partly explains our low divorce rate and shidduch non-crisis).

  31. dovid 2 says:

    Hallo Esther. Do you imply that shaven heads, woolen talis koton worn on top of the shirt, beaver hat, long kapote during summer, full beard and payos, fur shtreimel, bekeshe + rezhvulke, (you forgot to mention boots in the summer) are a segula for shmiras eynaim? Do you also think Satmar invent shimras eynaim?

  32. tziki kedera says:

    the sources i mentioned hold the burka was or should be the minhag…the third habad rebbi would like the burka also but understands he can not change the world…all this is from the elul 5770 issue of BEIKVAE HATZOAN torah journal…

  33. Esther says:

    Hello Rabbi O? Chassidic men shave their heads *visibly*, wear woolen talis koton, beaver hat and long kapote during summer, full beard and payos going to work in Manhattan, fur shtreimel, bekeshe + rezhvulke friday night and talis godol shabbos noon walking home from shul in sweltering heat. Are they oppressed? Are they really happy? As a female, I don’t know the truth. I do know that I’d be unhappy if my husband looked at strange women or their pictures.

    Arnie, Badatz had just assered the burka and you’re fretting that we’re falling off the deep end because our men and boys are nizhar in shmiras eynayim?

  34. tzippi says:

    Rabbi O, are you really comparing shaving one’s head, which is definitely not to be taken lightly, but not visibly apparent so a private decision, with wearing the burka?
    Could be you’re right, and there’s a lot that’s coming from the chassidic world – let’s not forget the uniform for MEN, it’s not all about oppressing women – which I guess is problematic, as these are superficial actions not connected to generations of mesorah (authentic transmission of tradition) which is a recipe for disaster. But I don’t see it so clearly. Maybe it’s because I live out of town, away from the epicenters (or epis centers) but maybe I have a clear vantage point out here.

  35. Tziki says:

    reb yonathan…first ,i agree with you …but don’t forget we have our own sources
    1) shabbas 80a rashi
    2)zohar p’ lech-leha inziv ha-zohar
    3) rashi in megilla 10b regarding tamar
    4)marashah sotah 10a
    5) rasheet hachmah shar 4:25

  36. L. Oberstein says:

    Arnie is right. It isn’t a joke. I think that the yeshiva world has surrendered to the Chassdic world regarding how to treat females. The moderate yeshivos look over their shoulder and are afraid of the extreme yeshivos. They are afraid of Brisk and no one has the guts to just say “enough is enough”.

  37. L. Oberstein says:

    As a male, I wonder if females really agree with the strict modestly restritions in Islam and in our own orthodox right wing . In our religion there are women who have to shave their heads, and many other restrictions. The males say that the women are happy and content and the women have no say one way or the other.
    Much of western culture is incompatible with Islam.Aa millions of Muslims move to Christian lands, there will continue to be a war of cultures that will only get worse. Female mutilation, honor killings, polygamy, the ability of a man to have many wives in different cities and the ease with which he can divorce a wife for any whim. Islam is greatly different from what is considered fair and balanced towards women and I really wonder how happy they really are locked up in their homes. Read what Hirse Ally writes about her life in Somalia .
    What would a typical Amerian Jew say about some of the rules that some Jews make for the women in their communities? Would they find it distasteful as I find Islam or whould they believe that our women are really happy in their restrictions? As a male, I don’t know the truth .

  38. Arnie says:

    Mishpacha, Yated and Hamodia do not show pictures of women’s faces, a chumra unheard of years ago. As this trend continues, the burka will be called a “face tichel” and become mandatory attire. A little further into the future, illustrated handbooks will be written for the bas yisroel to teach them how much of the face needs to be covered up.

  39. Bob Miller says:

    One possible answer is to tell burqa-clad travelers that, because they are not identifiable, they will have to go as baggage.

  40. rtw says:

    I quarrel with Rosenblum’s representation of this article. Berlinski seems to see violence against women as a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. The problem, in her eloquent words: “At its core, the veil is the expression of the belief that female sexuality is so destructive a force that men must at all costs be protected from it; the natural correlate of this belief is that men cannot be held responsible for the desires prompted in them by an unveiled woman, including the impulse to rape her.”

  41. Shunamit says:

    As I recall, my American passport required that face and ears be visible in the photo.