Monday, May 30, 2011

A divorced haredi woman was thrown out of her house due to modesty reasons


This week's Torah Parasha is called NASSO and it mainly teaches us about a SOTAH. In modern Hebrew, the word Sotah means "Prostitute" but in haredi circles you can also use the word for a Jewish woman who is not behaving too modestly. She doesn't necessarily have to be a prostitute and some Haredim think that a certain haredi woman wearing a shorter skirt already is a prostitute (Sotah).

The Torah, however, is telling us about the procedure taking place in Jerusalem's former Temples when a husband is suspecting his wife of betraying him with another man. First, the husband has to warn his wife and if she doesn't listen, the husband can report her. In a special procedure, the wife has to drink the "Me'i Sotah - Sotah Waters" and when she is guilty of betraying her husband, the waters do something really ugly to her stomach and the woman will die.

I was just reminded of Parashat Nasso when I read a haredi forum mentioning the case of a divorced haredi woman who apparently got thrown out of her house due to immodest behaviour. In case you have become so terrible curious of what the woman had done: There is no answer to it. At least not in the forum although everybody is dying to know what the woman did and how she got thrown out of her house.

Elad is a small, mainly haredi town, near Tel Aviv and Petach Tikwah. At least two incidents have happened so far where a self - appointed "Holy Committee" decided to print Pashkevilim in order to let the wider public know other people's immodest behaviour. This, on the other hand, really reminds me of the Nazis or Iran.

Anonymous people found out about the "immodest" (whatever that means) behaviour of a certain couple living in Elad and about the above mentioned woman and announced their doings on Pashkevilim glued onto public buildings such as Synagogues. Some Elad inhabitants said that this is not the right way to do it when children read those posters and see that Mrs and Mr so - and - so behave in whatever way.

It remains unclear what the couple and the divorced woman did or didn't do but it really shocked me when I read about the public announcements asking the population to keep away from those people. I don't think that G - d has ever intended such denunciations and people participating in this are nothing but a Chilul Hashem (desecration of G - d's name). If you have a complaint or anything to say, go to a Rabbi or talk to the people in person.

Poster from the Israeli town of Elad.


  1. You are right when you say it's an ugly think, and that's why Lubavitcher don't use pashevilim. When you have a problem with someone, all should happen in private with all the concerned parties. When I walk in Meah Shearim or in Williamsburg, I'm happy to be a Lubavitcher when you read the things they print on their walls about other people.

    It's shameful and has nothing to do with Judaism. Even the case of the Sotah was treated privately between the husband, the wife and the Kohen who made her drink the Me'i Sotah (and uncover her hair, to show that because she acted untzniusdike, we have to unvover her hair, one of the part of her body that was normally reserved only for her husband).

    I think people who made those things public have also plenty of things to hide, and they try to divert the attention from them to weaker people who have no way to defend themselves.

    But whatever, it's an ugly practice.

  2. B"H

    I don't know about Elad but other haredi towns such as Kiryat Sefer or Beitar have a high percentage of Baalei Teshuva who bring all kinds of problems with them. Baalei Teshuva parents who just became religious but their kids are hardly willing to change their ways of life.

    Beitar and Kiryat Sefer have all kinds of social problems. Could be the same in Elad and some people think they have to show how holy they are printing Pashkevilim.

  3. At least in Williamsburg, most people ignore all of these crazy pashkevillim. They are not written by leaders or gedolim, they are written by some crazy people. If they are signed by rabbanim, chances are they don't even know about it.

  4. B"H

    The same happening in Mea Shearim. Only a few years ago, most posters used to be from the Edah and now they come from anonymous people. Including the Neturei Karta Sikarikim who don't always identify themselves.

  5. When you hear what happened in New Square, those pashkevilim are nothing compared to the radical and extrem violence of the Skver Chasidim in New Square. And it was not the 1st time they use such an extreme violence to make their point clear.

  6. B"H

    I haven't referred to the New Square case on purpose. The day it happened, the Israeli haredi press went wild. The next day, no one was interested anymore.

    Sometimes New York seems so far away and what appears to be important there doesn't anyone in Israel.

  7. You are kidding! It is the talk of the week in our Shul since last Shabbes.