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Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Purim Laugh: Too Suggestive

Worth a laugh! Ariella runs advertisements from various vendors and always has a few stories. In the most recent edition, she learns that a some editor at some Chareidi newspaper was told his ad showing one bed with two pillows was too suggestive!

My bed currently has five pillows on it! I wonder what sort of image would float through this editor's head if he were to ever see a picture of my bed.

13 comments:

Ariella said...

Unfortunately, the story is true. The Charedi community has succeeded in creating a McCarthy type of paranoia. No one who is part of the accredited establishment want to risk showing anything that in even the remotest sense could be associated with suggestiveness. That is the reason those publications show no pictures of women at all -- no matter the age, whether they are still pre-pubescent or great-grandmothers. Some will not even allow cartoon style drawings of female figures. All that restrictions are in place because somebody (with, possibly, a rather twisted imagination) may just find the image provocative in some way.

Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

The problem, unfortunately, is much deeper than that. Over the years, the Charedim (most of them, not all) have perverted their Judaism by adopting too many goyishe concepts. Some examples:

1. Goyishe clothing. Maybe it all started with this, because Chassidism when it started was a delightful and beautiful thing. They started wearing the clothes of the very European noblemen that were slaughtering us.

2. Defining sex and anything even remotely (or imaginary) having to do with sex to be sinful. Except perhaps for procreation, but even that is only due to necessity, and any public discourse about it is frowned upon. On the contrary, sex, under the proper conditions, is a great mitzvah in true Torah Judaism. They've completely lost that aspect of it.

3. Subjugation of women. Maybe part of number 2 above, maybe something else. Perhaps the rigid hierarchy of control in such societies causes this to happen.

4. Asceticism, or forced asceticism (for almost everyone except for the select few in the ruling class). The Charedim have devolved into a society of ascetics due to their perversion of the mitzvah of learning. There is clearly a mitzvah to learn, however, it is not a mitzvah if it crowds out everything else that Hashem gave us in this life (for example, to work and earn a living to properly support a family).

These are all non-Jewish concepts and have no place in Judaism. Also, this isn't to say that other forms of Judaism don't have their own problems, they do, and sometimes worse problems (like reform disappearing at a rate of 40-50% a generation) however groups of people that want to call themselves the "standard bearers" of Judaism must avoid adopting non-Jewish concepts.

I have also posted this elsewhere to attract further discussion.

Mark

Commenter Abbi said...

Mark your four points describe the early Catholic church to a T. Bravo!

Ateres said...

I thought the purpose of this blog was to discuss finance, not to bash chareidim.

I would be happy to discuss Mark's, but not in an environment of indiscriminate charedi bashing.

For the record, I agree that the bed thing is ridiculous and was quite surprised that anyone would be bothered by a bed with two pillows. I slept with two pillows while single and thought nothing of it.

Anonymous said...

Ateres---I don't think it is Charedi bashing (and to be specific, Mark was Chassidic bashing) to discuss the roots of Chassidus and its effects on Orthonomics. The subjugation of Judaism to goyishe ideas is part of why "we" feel it necessary to buy expensive shaitels, $10k bookshelves, expensive cars, take fancy vacations, and pay for it all with a HELOC. Not going to summer camp is presented as an issue of halacha for crying out loud.

Mark---it has always been my view after learning history that Chassidism was invented to give the unlearned Jews a Judaism more like their Catholic neighbors. The ascetism and subjugation of women are one good example. But look even deeper. I have lived among Chassidim (and not just Chabad), and their reliance on their Rebbe is akin to a Catholic reliance on a priest (or Jesus) as an intermediary to G-d. Chabad and some Breslov are extreme examples, but even Satmar and Viznitz treat their living Rebbes the same way. I heard one Chabad person tell me she was working hard every day to improve her relationship with the Rebbe. Sorry---the Rebbe has been dead for awhile now---I hope you don't have a relationship with a corpse. The relationship should be with G-d, not your dead Rebbe.

Ignorance of some halacha and over-emphasis of others. Being moser nefesh to pray at the kever of a dead rebbe (in really awful places in the Ukraine) is another good example. I'm not saying that mainstream American (small m) modern orthodox Jews are perfect.

I learned for awhile with a Chabad Rabbi. I asked him a source for something in a sicha of the Rebbe. He told me it was the Alter Rebbe. What was his source? The Ba'al Shem Tov. What was his source? Ruach haKodesh.....

Ruach haKodesh?!?!?!? I thought that was gone! Jewish learning requires sources back to Har Sinai, which requires gemara. Some ideas presented by Chassidus run contradictory to the Torah. Telling me that the Ba'al Shem Tov had ruach hakodesh and could overturn halacha is like saying Jesus could overturn the Torah (and trust me... the 2 are treated the same by their respective groups).

I'm getting off track...

How is it that "religious people" feel they can defraud the government to buy thousand dollar streimels, trips to Israel, sheitels, furniture, etc? Hasn't that attitude spread to the greater Orthodox world, just as the the uniformity of dress has spread (Litvaks used to deride the Chassidic "uniform", and now they have their own).

Ateres said...

Anon,

I am trying to understand how you made the logical leaps in your post. You make the logical leap from saying that you think that chassidus was based on Catholicism to saying that is the reason that they spend $10,000 on furniture sets. The connection is...

I could address each of your points logically, but first I need to be under the impression that you are interested in logic.

BTW, the info that the Chabad Shliach told you was quite simply wrong. The Ba'al HaTanya lists his sources in the Tanya itself. The Tanya is based on the Maharal, R' Chayim Vital, the Arizal, and the Zohar primarily. So your conclusion is incorrect since it was based on a faulty premise.

Also, if chassidus was the cause of excessive spending, why is the problem primarily with those in New York? Chassidim in Eretz Yisrael live quite simply. And I know many chassidim from many groups who live outside New York, and they are all quite honest on their taxes.

The expensive furniture (and gifts) appears to be a Hungarian thing, not a Chassidic thing. My husband has non-frum relatives from a non-frum Hungarian family that brought over a lot of expensive furniture when leaving Hungary, as that was the norm for Hungarian Jews. Even in New York today, Polish and Russian chossidim do not tend to do the elaborate furniture thing (except for those who copied it from the Hungarians, which some have).

Anonymous said...

Ateres - I would be happy to discuss Mark's, but not in an environment of indiscriminate charedi bashing.

I don't intend to bash Charedim, Chassidim, Chabad, MO, or anything else. What I will "bash" are things that various Jewish groups do that are clearly counter to Judaism (and, in fact, harmful to Judaism in the sort and the long run). I mentioned some of them above. Here's another one - The Reform acceptance of patrilineal descent is causing one of the greatest negative effects on Judaism that we have seen for a few generations. If it keeps up, we (the rest of the Jews) will be forced to consider all of them to be non-Jews (because unlike the Mormons, we don't have a central repository of genealogical information).

Mark

Ateres said...

Okay,

But some of the "facts" that you mentioned are far from being true.

For example, your assertion that relations are considered sinful is far from the truth. Even in the most charedi communities relations are considered to be a mitzvah (no not just for procreation, onah is also a mitzvah). In fact, I have a sefer on the subject written by a chossid from Meah Shearim that emphasizes this fact (as well as the importance of pleasing the wife).

Essentially, the emphasis on tznius is precisely for the opposite reason, to serve as a reminder of the holiness of the act. Also, there is a principle that the holier something is the greater the potential of its misuse. Of course, the possibilities of misusing this are to numerous to mention...

There is also a basis for extra caution brought in the gemara, that there is no safeguard against arayos. There are numerous other passages in the gemara which caution against unnecessary interaction between males and females.

However, all of this totally irrelevant to economics. Your tuition is not being affected by the way that I view tznius (and I currently pay full tuition anyway)

Anonymous said...

For example, your assertion that relations are considered sinful is far from the truth.

Read what I wrote again. Then try to answer the following questions -

Why is it that for the previous generation it was okay for men and women to sit in the same section of a bus, and it is not okay for this generation? Furthermore, why is it that 2 generations ago, it was okay for a boy to live with his family while learning in Yeshiva and today it is pretty much only acceptable for him to live in the dormitory? Finally, why do today's Charedim believe that the light must be turned off while having sex with ones spouse? And, if tzniut is meant as a reminder of holiness, why do they believe that this generation has to be holier than previous generations (especially since we know by mesorah that just the opposite is most likely)?

Mark

Ateres said...

1. It was never considered ideal to sit next to the opposite gender on the bus, since touching is often inevitable. However, given that one did not have much choice (and still doesn't in most places of the world), you did what you could.

BTW, I once went on a tour of an old trolley system that used to operate in a rural Australian town. The trolley director told us that until about 1900, the trolley had separate seating sections for men and women. Apparently even non-Jews used to understand this concept.

2. Firstly, many boys do still live at home.

But to answer your question, in Europe it was the norm for boys to go to a different city to study in yeshiva. Many boys went to other cities to study in famous yeshivos, such as Mir or Novorodok, even if they had a yeshiva in their cities.

3. The light being turned off is actually mentioned in Shulchan Aruch (if I recall correctly). Also, the light can be on up until right before. SO yes, they can see each other, just not during the act itself.

4. About the level of tznius, the answer has two parts:

a. The level isn't really higher than it was in the 1800's. During the pre-war era in Europe (and all the more so in America), the level of tznius fell considerably from what it was before. Many gedolim objected to this (see "Geder Olam" from the Chofetz Chaim for proof of this).

b. These days there is more of a need to be careful about "shmiras einayim" precisely because the level of morality in the outside world has fallen. If someone watched TV in the 1960's he would be exposed to a lot less than someone who watches TV today.

That said, I do believe in a balance and I think that it is the responsibility of rabbonim to not impose standards that will be too much for the tzibbur to handle and will just cause rebellion. IMHO, banning Jewish music concerts would fall into that category.

Anonymous said...

Ateres - 1. It was never considered ideal to sit next to the opposite gender on the bus, since touching is often inevitable. However, given that one did not have much choice (and still doesn't in most places of the world), you did what you could.

That doesn't answer the question. Why do Charedim in Israel suddenly feel today that the buses in their neighborhood have to be segregated while for 60 years they mostly didn't?

2. Firstly, many boys do still live at home.

But to answer your question, in Europe it was the norm for boys to go to a different city to study in yeshiva. Many boys went to other cities to study in famous yeshivos, such as Mir or Novorodok, even if they had a yeshiva in their cities.


Again with the Europe thing. To me, "because that's the way we did it in Europe" is not a satisfactory, nor valid answer. Not to mention that it is insulting to Jews of eastern origin (I am always mystified to see Sefardi Charedim dressing like the European noblemen Y"S did).

3. The light being turned off is actually mentioned in Shulchan Aruch (if I recall correctly). Also, the light can be on up until right before. SO yes, they can see each other, just not during the act itself.

This statement would lead me to believe that you aren't married yet (but I could be wrong, that often happens because I am human).

And if the Shulchan Aruch states it thusly, then why is it that so many Charedi Rabbanim paskin otherwise?

4. About the level of tznius, the answer has two parts:

a. The level isn't really higher than it was in the 1800's. During the pre-war era in Europe (and all the more so in America), the level of tznius fell considerably from what it was before. Many gedolim objected to this (see "Geder Olam" from the Chofetz Chaim for proof of this).

b. These days there is more of a need to be careful about "shmiras einayim" precisely because the level of morality in the outside world has fallen. If someone watched TV in the 1960's he would be exposed to a lot less than someone who watches TV today.


This I completely agree with, and TV watching is strongly monitored in my house. Nothing at all is ever watched "live" by our 5 children, everything is watched from DVR or DVD after my wife and I have verified that it is appropriate. An extra benefit is that they don't get to see all the shtus in the commercials.

So I understand shielding us from much of the nasty immodest stuff outside the community. But that doesn't explain the incessant focus on personal tzniut, at a level way higher than previous generations, by the current group of Charedi Rabbanim. That doesn't explain craziness regarding window displays in sheitel stores, or crazy considerations regarding kashrut that make life even more difficult for us pashut Jews who simply want to live a true Torah lifestyle.

That said, I do believe in a balance and I think that it is the responsibility of rabbonim to not impose standards that will be too much for the tzibbur to handle and will just cause rebellion. IMHO, banning Jewish music concerts would fall into that category.

So why do you think they, the Charedi Rabbanim, do these things?

I have my answer, but I am wondering what others think.

Ateres said...

"That doesn't answer the question. Why do Charedim in Israel suddenly feel today that the buses in their neighborhood have to be segregated while for 60 years they mostly didn't?"

I don't see how that didn't answer the question, but I will try again.

If two people of the opposite gender sit next to each other on a bus, it is very likely that they will accidently touch each other. Additionally, if a single boy and girl sit next to each other, they may socialize in a way that is considered inappropriate in the charedi community. Therefore, having separate seating on a bus is the most logical way to prevent this.

Why didn't they do it sixty years ago? Who knows? But it seems logical to me.

"Again with the Europe thing. To me, "because that's the way we did it in Europe" is not a satisfactory, nor valid answer. Not to mention that it is insulting to Jews of eastern origin (I am always mystified to see Sefardi Charedim dressing like the European noblemen Y"S did)."

Firstly, I was explaining that this is not a new innovation. The fact that they did it in Europe proves that it is not a new thing for Ashkenazi charedim.

I can't answer for sefardim since I am not familiar enough with sefardi chareidim to know what they did in their countries of origin. I also agree with you about sefardim wearing black hats. I think that they should stick to wearing the levush that they wore for generations instead of copying ashkenazi levush.

"This statement would lead me to believe that you aren't married yet (but I could be wrong, that often happens because I am human).

And if the Shulchan Aruch states it thusly, then why is it that so many Charedi Rabbanim paskin otherwise?"

Yes, I am married (for close to six years). I can't figure out what part is unclear to you. Right before the actual act the couple needs to turn off the light, but up until that point the light can be on (but the couple still needs to be under a blanket once they are undressed).

Which charedi rabbonim pasken otherwise?

"This I completely agree with, and TV watching is strongly monitored in my house. Nothing at all is ever watched "live" by our 5 children, everything is watched from DVR or DVD after my wife and I have verified that it is appropriate. An extra benefit is that they don't get to see all the shtus in the commercials.

So I understand shielding us from much of the nasty immodest stuff outside the community. But that doesn't explain the incessant focus on personal tzniut, at a level way higher than previous generations, by the current group of Charedi Rabbanim. That doesn't explain craziness regarding window displays in sheitel stores, or crazy considerations regarding kashrut that make life even more difficult for us pashut Jews who simply want to live a true Torah lifestyle."

Okay, so you understand in general why we have to be more careful with tznius these days.

Firstly, few in the charedi community agree with or defend the thugs who refer to themselves as the "va'ad hatznius". But with regard to the emphasis on tznius in general, rabbonim feel that it is more necessary do to the way that women within the charedi community itself have started dressing. Man people have been pushing the envelope and trying to wear things that are too tight or too short. I don't need to elaborate on this.

Once again, it should be done in a reasonable manner and some tznius campaigns can do more harm than good. But a basic explanation of halachos with sources, why not?

"So why do you think they, the Charedi Rabbanim, do these things?

I have my answer, but I am wondering what others think."

My answer is that some rabbonim are out of touch with the level of the tzibbur and their desires.

There is something to be said for avoiding concerts. They can be bitul Torah and for that reason my husband doesn't go. There is also the tendancy among some teenage girls to "worship" the singers in an inappropriate way, similar to the way secular teenage girls worship the latest bands.

I am young enough to remember when the Chevra first came out. Some girls in my high school were very into them. They constantly blasted "yehei shlama raba" in the hallways, looked at pictures of them, and had crushes on them (somehow they weren't bothered by the fact that the singers were married). That is quite inappropriate, to say the least.

However, teenagers do need kosher entertainment options. Not everyone is capable of learning Torah all day and if teenagers (and adults for that matter) aren't provided with relatively kosher entertainment options, they will obviously seek out non-kosher ones.

The rabbonim who issue these decrees, well intentionedas they are, need to realize that not everyone is at the madrega of "kol maasecha yihyu lshem shomayim", and need to allow the tzibbur to have a bit of fun.

ari said...

Mark, you need to read "Rupture and Reconstruction" by Haim Soloveitchik.

http://www.lookstein.org/links/orthodoxy.htm