Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rabbi Nissim Karelitz versus NEW PHARM


Haredi society has different opinions on makeup, lipstick, parfume, you name it. Very strict Rabbis are against anything but some among them do tolerate it. Lets just look at the women of the chassidic Toldot Aharon. Their fingers are full of rings. At least as soon as they get married. They walk in at a Tish and show each others rings. Proudly and some women like to show off.

Furthermore, they do use makeup but no perfume. There are times when I actually say: Unfortunately no perfume; especially when the sweat smell is circling around.
Rather some nice perfume than stink.

We have just discussed the wig (Sheitel) issue and if wearing it turns a woman into a kind of "prostitute". If she is sinning by covering her hair with a Sheitel or if she is even causing mischief upon the Jewish people. Despite all modesty importance regarding women, more and more women in chassidic society (even extreme groups) have discovered makeup and further cosmetic products. Why not ? Should a woman not follow her desires and try to look attractive ?
Attractive still in a halachic sense ? Or should the men's world rule where some extremists would prefer seeing the women dressed in sacks ?

This issue is coming up again. Not in Jerusalem but in Bnei Brak (near Tel Aviv) where the local Chief Rabbi Nissim Karelitz just put a ban on the new branch of NEW PHARM (an Israeli drugstore chain). The reason is that the Rabbis sees a spiritual danger in the new store which just opened its doors to the Bnei Brak public. Maybe men and women walk in and buy ... well, "immodest" perfume or other products. Generally speaking, the Yetzer may be aroused.

The question is whether the Haredim from Bnei Brak will follow the issur (prohibition) to buy at New Pharm. It is them from Bnei Brak who are famous for their modern haredi clothes style and many Rabbis have spoken out against too much modernity in haredi society. If you walk along Rashi Street (direction Rabbi Akiva Street), you can even see a graffiti on a wall saying: "Stop Haredi Prostitution (Here standing for: Immodest Behaviour) !".

Personally I don't see anything wrong with New Pharm and I am sure that the company has adjusted its Bnei Brak branch to haredi demands. So, why protest ? Because of some makeup or a man going in and buying some parfume ?


Article from Chadrei HaCharedim (Hebrew)


  1. correction:
    The Official Chief Rabbi, The Rav The Marah DAsra of Bnei Brak is none other than Rav Moshe Landa, he was appointed, he has the title, he controls Kashrut the Beis Din etc.
    Though Rabbi Karelitz is the nephew of the Chazon Ish, the Av Beis Din of his Beis Din and an icon to the Litvishe world he has no official title in the city of Bnei Brak, not him nor Rabbi Kanievsky

  2. B"H

    Thanks for the correction.
    I once read somewhere that he would be the chief rabbi of BB but can't remember where it was. Otherwise I just heard that he is very big in the conversion business.