Friday, April 19, 2013

Today's Chilul Hashem



Some moron from Brooklyn got his car on Gothamist this morning under the headline
Photo: Does This Car Have The Most Offensive Bumper Stickers Ever? 

We can't answer Gothamist's question, but we can heap derision and scorn on the owner of the car. First, why can't you keep your flaws and shortcomings private? Must everyone know that you are threatened by self-confident women? Must everyone know you failed to read the definitive post on Hurricane Sandy and its cause? And must you promote all this clodhopper wisdom in the name of Judaism? Second, though all the messages you've attached to your car are risible, I'm going to take issue with one claim that happens to coincide with a pet peeve of mine.

You say, "Modern girls: forget Mincha! Dress modestly" but can't a modern girl do both? Isn't it possible to say the afternoon prayer without also showing an excess of skin?

But this is what really burns: Women have a Torah obligation to pray. According to most authorities, this obligation is equal to the obligation that men have, and therefore, woman must pray "amida" in the morning and afternoon ("Shacharit" and "Mincha") Why, and by what authority, has Charedi Judaism suspended this obligation? There are Rabbis who respond ferociously when women show a bit of knee, but say nothing when women fail to meet their minimum prayer obligations. And while nearly every shteeble has a summer tznius campaign featuring some combination of sermons, lectures, emails and flyers, I can't recall ever seeing a campaign to encourage women to pray.

The root of this inconsistency, I think, is that Charedi men value women only to the extent that they affect men. Charedi girls are raised to be appendages of their husbands. They are taught that they win schar primarily through their husbands. A woman's role is to keep her husband fed, sexed and happy so he can go out in to the world and pick up mitzvah points for the family to share. If this is your view of women, what does it matter if she prays or not? How she dresses is a different matter. That affects men. So of course men feel justified telling women to cover up.



Thanks to Chometz Ben Yayin for the tip


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