Friday, January 26, 2007

Modesty Standards?!

This is maddening! Once again the rabbinic leadership in Israel has issued Taliban like decrees. This is unprecedented in modern times. Here are the rules as published in the Yated:

1. There are families that do not meet modesty standards and when the time comes to register their children in educational institutions they encounter difficulties getting accepted at the educational institutions and then they turn to Vaadas HaRabbonim LeInyonei Chinuch with various pledges. We hereby declare in the name of Vaadas HaRabbonim that all of these families must start conforming now at the beginning of the year rather than crying out after the fact, for those who do not conform to the directives of rabboseinu gedolei Yisroel forfeit their right to make demands of the city's educational institutions.

2. The gathering calls on clothing stores not to sell clothes that do not conform to the instructions issued by the rabbonim. Doing so constitutes an act of causing the buyers and the public to stumble, and they are accountable for the public's sin. As in other cities, this should be buttressed by only patronizing stores that receive certification.

3. Since the beis din is required to oversee public places to prevent people from socializing improperly it has been decided to set up Agudas Hashomrim, which will dispatch hundreds of avreichim to stand watch on these matters.

4. Under the current set of circumstances on public buses it is very hard to maintain proper modesty with women walking down the aisle past the men, both in terms of the men and the women themselves, therefore it has been decided to arrange to have women board via the rear door and the public is asked to assist in upholding these arrangements. HaRav Braverman then read the main takonos issued in accordance with gedolei Yisroel.

As I said in a previous post, it isn’t that I am upset that there are people who feel that the types of modesty standards observed by the most Machmir of Rabbanim aren’t legitimate. They are. That’s not the issue. The issue is the stridency by which those standards are insisted upon and imposed… and the lengths gone to enforce them. This is a grossly unfair imposition by minority upon the majority.

Today’s rabbinic leadership seems to be “Takana happy”. They seem to impose them almost willy nilly.. Previous Gedloim were not that cavalier about making Takanos at the drop of a hat. Even when there were wide spread violations of Hilchos Tznius in the sixties, there were no Takanos made. Just Teshuvos or public statements emphasizing and reminding people of the Issurim involved.

I wish today’s rabbinic leadership would take a lesson from the leadership of the past!.

I received a note about this from someone who I greatly respect and admire. He wishes to remain anonymous. Here are his words:

“This is just crazy! Refusing entry into yeshivos kids whose families don't live up to modesty standards and having women enter buses through the back. And sending kollel avreichim on modesty patrols -- that's just asking for trouble (and aren't they being paid to learn Torah?). Another reason to be MO.”

I couldn’t agree more.