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Unread 12-28-2011, 07:08 PM   #1
Esrog
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••• Modesty issue in Israel •••

I'm very interested in understanding the debate going on in Israel over modesty in Haredi neighborhoods. A woman got on a haredi bus and deliberately tried to create a scene about separate seating and since then the whole thing has blown up. At the same time, there are some areas where there are signs saying men and women have separate sides of the street, which I never heard before and don't understand. I'm also not hearing rabbinical rulings on this, which is frustrating. It seems obvious to me that the woman who started this was deliberately trying to agitate and initially Haredim were extremely gentle to her in asking her to respect them. There are also many other aspects to this, including that the army is trying to make religious soldiers listen to women singing. So the bus and street issue is being used by the left to score political points, claiming women are being treated like second class citizens even though the women in Haredi neighborhoods don't want mixed bus seating anyway. Even Hillary Clinton got into the act, attacking treatment of women in Israel, about which she knows nothing. (About modesty the Clinton family is not exactly one to preach.)

Now even Netanyahu has gotten into the act and is trying to score points by coming out against the Haredim. (Apparently he thinks this will help him score points with the supporters of Tzipi Livni, who is always attacking religious Jews.) Netanyahu, in any case, will do anything to try to appear middle of the road, even if the entire road is all the way over on the left side of the universe. No matter. He's going to get into the middle of it.

Meanwhile, rabbis and others around the world have just issued a declaration against homosexuality, which was courageous and they deliberately did this during Chanukah, since the Greeks were known for their embrace of homosexuality. So the whole modesty issue coming up now may have something to do with Chanukah. On one hand, some religious are saying that one shouldn't give the left an opportunity to call them extremists. On the other hand it may be that all this controversy is really happening because the klipas are having a temper tantrum because some light is coming into the world. So either the "extremists" are doing the wrong thing, or they are doing the right thing. In any case, although Rambam stressed a middle path, "Thou shalt not be extreme" is not the 614th commandment and what matters is the actual Halacha, not some political label.

I also notice that Netanyahu's wife, Sarah, is pushing him to bomb Iran already but he is busy trying to curry favor with Obama while Iran gets the bomb. Obama is stringing Netanyahu along, telling him the US might attack Iran, might not, so don't do anything yet. So Sarah Netanyahu is pushing Netanyahu to just get on with it already and take out the Iranian nuclear facilities. As we are taught, a man should love his wife as himself, and respect her more than himself. Faced with nagging from his wife while he pursues the "all-important" task of currying favor with the goyim, Netanyahu is now busy showing how much he cares about women despite his wife giving him a hard time --- by defending immodesty.

The whole matter seems crazy to me, like something out of a bizarre Franz Kafka novel (old Prague secular Jewish author who wrote bizarre stories).

On top of all this there are inyanim about Amalaik being the klipa that covers up Kesser, hence a very high level of klipa, and as we are also taught, Amalaik is the head of the nations. And Kesser is feminine and the woman is called the Kesser, the crown of her husband. Amalaik has been equated with zinus, immodesty. And of course, Iran --- Persia --- is where the evil Haman was, and Haman was an Amalekite. We are also taught that in the end of days there will arise in Persia someone who is "Hamani" --- "Haman-like." And the head of Iran is now Ayatollah Ali Hamani. The Rebbe spoke about this in connection with the first Ayatollah, who had a similar name. So it doesn't surprise me that in the midst of dawdling on bombing Iran, Netanyahu has gotten embroiled in a modesty issue, as if he has nothing better to do.

But what is the correct answer to these issues, both halachically and also on a deeper level? Who can enlighten us about all this?

Last edited by Esrog; 12-30-2011 at 11:26 AM.
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Unread 12-28-2011, 10:20 PM   #2
noahidelaws
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Thanks! You should start a blog.
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Unread 12-29-2011, 01:12 AM   #3
Esrog
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Here’s a link

to the story about the woman who started it, she’s a secular media producer and it was obviously a publicity stunt for herself ----

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Ne...2#.Tu8A6RytOPR
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Unread 01-01-2012, 10:28 PM   #4
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Bus boycott -- oops! In reverse!

Arutz Sheva is reporting that in the midst of all the war threatening Israel leftists have nothing better to do than form a group of 200 people to get on Haredi buses and force themselves into the wrong seating areas. Jerusalem Post reported that Haredi women asked, why do we have to be smashed up against the opposite sex? So (according to Arutz Sheva) when Haredim heard that leftist "freedom riders" were planning to disrupt the Haredi bus lines at 5 PM, all the Haredim organized and avoided the Haredi buses at that hour, took cars and picked up riders at bus stops so they wouldn't have to ride the bus at 5 PM. So when the leftists showed up there was nothing, no Haredim to harass and bother. It's just not fair!!!!!! How can we bother somebody if they don't show up?! So the leftist protest fizzled.

Uh-oh! A bus boycott! Only leftists are supposed to do that!
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Unread 01-02-2012, 07:48 PM   #5
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Here are some other items being reported:

Some Israeli rabbis are now claiming that separation of the sexes is anti-Torah but I am not sure in what respect they are saying this or if it is being taken out of context. Much of the tumult about all this now seems little different than the Ohel bus that takes people from 770 to the Ohel and there is separation of the sexes on that bus and I never heard of a thing that was wrong with that.

Nevertheless, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz just announced that attendance at all official IDF functions for soldiers is mandatory even if a woman sings. It is shocking to me that he said this, especially with so many religious Jews now giving exemplary service and increasingly dominating the officer ranks because of their tremendous care and dedication to their responsibilities, and it is also shocking to me that some religious are jumping on the bandwagon to prove how "reasonable" they are by going against gender separation, as if all they care about is what others think of them. It seems to me that outside Israel a lot of Jews are worried about "what the goyim would think of them" and in Israel even some religious Jews seem worried about "what the left would think of them."

Although I am still waiting for someone reading this discussion to have mercy on me and clarify the halachic issues here, at the moment it seems pretty disgusting, the whole issue, and it seems apparent that tzneis has long been a duty swept under the rug by many religious, especially the "modern" Orthodox. Anything to avoid embarrassment. Some religious in Israel are defending the haredim's right to have gender separation as something "they" have a right to --- THEY --- not us. As if tzneis is a special stringency not every religious Jew need take on himself. It is as if these people are treating modesty as a hiddur or something but not something obligatory on all.

Without getting into specifics I have encountered some shocking cases over the years of non-Chassidic or "modern" Orthodox rabbis trampling over modesty as if it were some sort of mere footnote to Jewish law.

This topic is much too important for me to be the only one offering comments here. It would be nice to see some who are more knowledgeable than I am share their Torah knowledge here on this subject.
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Unread 01-04-2012, 07:24 PM   #6
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Haredi soldiers ordered to clean women's toilets ---

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Ne...8#.TwTsXBytOPQ
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Unread 01-08-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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51% now say segregated buses are okay ---

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...171689,00.html
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Unread 02-05-2012, 10:42 PM   #8
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if you have a problem with women on buses, stay home. Don't be frum on someone else's cheshbon. Control yourself or don't leave your house.
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Unread 03-14-2012, 04:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcp View Post
if you have a problem with women on buses, stay home. Don't be frum on someone else's cheshbon. Control yourself or don't leave your house.
Imagine it is Yom Kippur and a non-Jewish person decides to walk in the shul with a delicious smelling cheeseburger. Now, it is perfectly kosher for him on any day of the week but I have a hunch that if you were fasting and davening in that shul, you'd also be a little ticked off at him.
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