Removing Women’s Pictures from Photographs

 

Guest post by Hadassah Levy

Hadassah Levy is a website manager and marketer for Jewish Ideas Daily.

A recent ad in a local Rehovot haredi newspaper blurred the picture of Sivan Rahav-Meir. Ironically, the ad was for an event at which Rahav-Meir will be speaking. The event is run by the Religious-National Forum and the ad was submitted to the newspaper without the blurring. (The ad, as it appeared, can be viewed here.)

This news item is being reported shortly after the outrage over the blurring out of Ruti Fogel’s picture from a parsha sheet. The memorial picture included the whole family, with only her photo blurred. Machon Meir, which published the parsha sheet, has a policy against publishing women’s pictures in the bulletin, since it is meant for distribution in shul. The institute apologized both publicly and privately to the family for the gaffe.

In the American sphere, we had the infamous photoshopping out of Hillary Clinton a few months ago. This event prompted the website Vos Iz Neias to publish a halachic article on the question of whether it is permissible to publish women’s pictures. The article assumes that there is little difference between looking at actual women and looking at their photographs. According to the author, Rabbi Yair Hoffman, there is a disagreement as to whether the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 20a and b) prohibited all looking (histaklut) at women, or only ogling. The Shulchan Aruch (EH 21:1) seems to follow the more lenient opinion, forbidding looking at women only in situations where they might not be properly dressed (such as while laundering clothes).

In the haredi world, where looking at women on buses, in lectures or at the supermarket is considered problematic, it is entirely logical to refrain from publishing pictures of them in newspapers, magazines and books. In the Modern Orthodox/dati leumi world, where women are much more present in the public sphere, leaving them out of pictures makes no sense. Women and men interact socially and professionally, and women often speak publicly to mixed crowds. Since it is fairly common for men to look at women in person, there is no reason to object to modest pictures.

When the Hillary Clinton story was hot news, there was much discussion of the chillul hashem which resulted from the removal of her picture from the newspaper. Currently, in Israel, the merest suggestion that religious people discriminate against women can be turned into a major news story and added to the long list of “proofs” that women have no place in the religious public sphere. Preventing this chillul hashem may be more important than a halachic opinion inappropriate for the Modern Orthodox community.

 

Share this Post

 

Related Posts

About the author

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

120 Responses

  1. Y says:

    Great article — thanks! I agree it is very important for Modern Orthodox and Dati Leumi to stand strong against the pressure to adopt Charedi leniencies, because the slide to the right is inherent in all Orthodox and is ultimately very dangerous.

    The problem began with the advent of Reform: some Orthodox responded by adopting more stringent positions, and this tendency perpetuated itself to this very day. This results in absurdities to the extent that is causes many non-Orthodox to feel very self-assured that Orthodox Judaism is somehow an illegitimate abberation. Which is very odd because even a cursory reading of Tanakh makes it obvious that only a Judaism that believes that the mitzvot are actually required (that is, Orthodox Judaism) is valid. Yet there is no halachic principle saying things should become more strict with time. In fact there is a mitzvah not to add to the Torah. We are told make a fence around the Torah (Pirkei Avot), but not fences around fences around fences!

    Anyway, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, 200 years ago, foresaw the explosion of irreligiousness among Jews: “I’ll tell you a secret. A great atheism is coming into the world as a test from on high.” He foresaw that this would come about, but there is no indication he saw this as a need for greater stringencies. On the contrary he mocked stringencies and spoke very strongly against them. This wonderful quote (from Rebbe Nachman in Sichos HaRan) should be required reading for all Orthodox Jews.

    “Don’t follow excessive stringencies in your practice of the Torah. “God does not rule over His creatures with tyranny” ( Avodah Zarah 3a) – “The Torah was not given to ministering angels” ( Berachot 25b) .

    Our rabbis have taught that it is proper for each person to choose for himself one mitzvah to observe with particular care in all its fine details ( Shabbat 118b ). Yet even with your chosen mitzvah, you should not be excessively strict to the point of folly. Don’t let it make you depressed. Simply try to keep the mitzvah carefully in all its finer points, but without excessive punctiliousness.

    As for the other mitzvot, simply follow the essential laws without adding extra stringencies. If only we could keep all the mitzvot of the Torah according to the simple interpretation of the law without seeking to go beyond it!

    There is no need to look for extra stringencies: this is foolish and confusing. The essence of serving God is simplicity and sincerity. Pray much, study much Torah and carry out many good deeds without seeking out or inventing unnecessary restrictions. Simply follow the path of our forefathers. “The Torah was not given to ministering angels.”

    There is nothing that you absolutely must do or else. If you can, you can. But if you cannot: “God exempts a person under duress” ( Bava Kama 28b)” .

    Sichot Haran #235

  2. Dov says:

    Hadassah –

    The Shulchan Aruch (EH 65:1) seems to follow the more lenient opinion, forbidding looking at women only in situations where they might not be properly dressed (such as while laundering clothes).

    That is a typo; you meant 21:1. What you actually cited is evidence that your reading is incorrect, as it says there אסור להסתכל בכלה, and it is not specifically talking about such a situation.

  3. IH says:

    For some sense of what “pictures” looked like at the time the Shulchan Aruch was written, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16th_century#1560s

    Photographs, of course, didn’t exist until the 19th century.

  4. Dov says:

    Y. –

    not fences around fences around fences

    Sorry, you asked for it. Yevamos 21a:

    רב כהנא אמר מהכא (ויקרא יח, ל) ושמרתם את משמרתי עשו משמרת למשמרתי

  5. devora says:

    What does that mean though? Gezeros are better defined.

  6. IH says:

    That has a very specific context, Dov, no?

  7. Dov says:

    There is nothing that you absolutely must do or else. If you can, you can. But if you cannot: “God exempts a person under duress” ( Bava Kama 28b)

    Nothing? Are we discounting normative halacha here?

  8. Dov says:

    IH –

    The point is the idea exists. Yes, my response lacks nuance. But so does the general attack on stringencies.

  9. abba's rantings says:

    this issue showed up on the final espisode of srugim

  10. abba's rantings says:

    i don’t understand last sentence of the article

  11. Hadassah says:

    Dov – You are right about the mistake in the makor in Even HaEzer. I have asked Gil to fix it.

    Abba’s rantings – It’s funny that my last sentence was unclear, after the amount of time I spent trying to get it right! The point I am trying to make is that the halachic opinions which forbid looking at women at all are really irrelevant in the MO society of today. And since that is the case, there is no reason to suddenly be machmir when it comes to pictures, especially when chillul hashem will be caused by the chumrah.

  12. Great article. One point needs to be stressed: להסתכל does not mean ‘see’ or ‘have in one’s sight.’ It means to stare or ogle. There is no prohibition to see women, except for the author of Sefer Hassidim (which does not reflect normative Halakhah).

  13. Karen says:

    Thanks for clarifying that last sentence. I assumed that you were trying to say something in that vein — the opposite obviously didn’t make any sense — but I read it three times and I couldn’t get my head around it as written. Of course I thought it was just me.

  14. avi says:

    “The point is the idea exists. Yes, my response lacks nuance. But so does the general attack on stringencies.”

    How does that show that the idea exists? A Shamor is not a Gezer and aren’t even related…

  15. HaDarda"i says:

    “Machon Meir, which published the parsha sheet, has a policy against publishing women’s pictures in the bulletin, since it is meant for distribution in shul.”

    The other day, I read the R. Bakshi-Doron’s haskama to a Sephardi siddur. R. B-D praises the publishers for not printing a tzaddik’s face on the front cover. He write that, as the siddur is used in shul, it is inappropriate to have pictures of human faces on display. If Machon Meir is really want to be machmir, they should do away with all human images from their bulletin.

  16. Ari Enkin says:

    Well said. Halacha l’maaseh!

    Ari Enkin

  17. Hadassah says:

    Karen (or anyone else, really) – how would you rephrase it to sound better?

  18. Shachar Ha'amim says:

    Sivan Rahav’s half-sheitel style of hair covering which she commonly wears in public is not considered acceptable hair covering by many orthodox jews.

    I want to stress that I am against censoring images of women, but it appears that in this case the pamphlet is published by haredim

  19. joel rich says:

    the new r’ybs siddur has an interesting comment about the need to define ourselves by who we are and who we are not. i’d suggest the MO world would be well served with some greater emphasis on self definition (of course the challenge is that might somewhat limit the membership but imho that would be a worthwhile cost. the bigger issue is who gets a vote)
    KT

  20. Moshe Shoshan says:

    I think SH has a point. not about her hair covering, but the fact that the face effacement was done by a chareridi publication.
    The author is jumping through an open door. No one in the MO/main stream DL community is suggesting that womens faces not be published. So why write a post arguing in favor of something that every one in the community agrees upon. The issue is that the Chareidi/Chardali world is doing this. The question is, can one come up with an argument that this practice is inappropriate even leshitatam? I think the policy of not allowing images of womens faces in public when no one today thinks that actual women’s faces should be excluded from the public makes no sense.

  21. – The problem began with the advent of Reform —

    A quick historical clarification: “Reform” with a capital “R”, i.e. as an organizational entity, did not exist until well after the Chatam Sofer’s death. In his lifetime there were only “reformers” that history later gathered under the name “the reform movement in Judaism”. Chatam Sofer wasn’t fighting a specific organization, but rather a zeitgeist of his generation. Further, the Chatam Sofer who lived in Hungary was reacting to a particularly extreme response to the enlightenment. The Hungerian reformers should not be confused with more text centric germanic reforms such as Wissenschaft des Judentums.

    To Dov, re: fences around fences.

    My recollection is that fences around fences are permitted, but that triple fences are not. However, there are almost never hard and fast rules. For example, in one teshuvah on the permissibility of electricity on Shabbat, a triple fence was rationalized by saying that violation of a direct and serious Torah prohibition (i.e. one that would result in karet) justifies the unusual circumstance of a fence around fence. Unfortunately, I don’t recall sources.

    The Talmud is built on reconciling values and halachot that are in tension so it is almost guaranteed that for any statement saying X is wrong, there will be another opposing principle that says X is right. A well thought out teshuva requires one to identify all the competing principles that can affect one’s decision. One also is required to consider the status of a halachah because the weight given to opposing principles and minority opinions depends to a significant degree on the status of a rule: minhag, gezerah, min ha torah, etc.

    The difficulty I have with much of the charedi poskining is that many competing principles are devalued or left out. I see Hadassah highlighting one of the principles that she feels is not given enough weight.

    Where I’d like to challenge you Hadassah is on your assertion that excessive itself modesty causes “hilul hashem”. This presupposes that something that essential to God’s nature is being mis-portrayed or violated. What did you have in mind?

    Do people just think poorly of the religiously observant? Is this a case of “ma omru ha goyim” or “marit ayin”?

    Or are there precise mitzvot that are being dragged into the dust? Is the public anger at the violation of these very real but unnamed mitzvot? A very wise teacher of mine used to observe that most chumrot come at the expense of being makel about one or more other mitzvot.

  22. Hadassah says:

    Note that the blurring of Ruti Fogel’s face was done by a national religious publication. Also, in spite of the fact that the haredi publication did the blurring on Sivan Rahav-Meir, the ad was created by a national religious organization, which should have made sure the ad would appear in its original form before publishing in this newspaper. When you open up the newspaper there is no way to know who decided to blur the image.

    The haredi world wants to keep women out of the public sphere as much as possible. And when they are present, they are separate or in the back so as not to be seen by the men. That attitude would need to change before the symptoms of it (like blurring pictures) could disappear.

  23. avi says:

    ” has an interesting comment about the need to define ourselves by who we are and who we are not.”

    Defining yourself by who you are not, is what has gotten the Charedim and orthodoxy in general into this mess in the first place.

  24. Avi says:

    This issue is broader than is being reported. Last week a popular circular in the Bet Shemesh/RBS area advertised purim costumes for children. All of the girls had their faces blurred out. This did not include the infants and toddlers. Is there really an issur against printing the face of a fully clothed 5 year old?

    And this does not look like it is a chareidi publication nor was the store that was advertising a chareidi store. What is happening?

  25. Hirhurim says:

    Avi: I asked R. Hershel Schachter about publishing women’s pictures and he said that if the woman is dressed according to halakhah then there is no problem.

  26. Ruvie says:

    Hadassah – very nice article.
    ” it is entirely logical to refrain from publishing pictures of them in newspapers…”
    Is it that logical? Of course you realize that this is an aberration from the past for chareidim as well. 50 years ago you could see pictures of women in their annual dinners and even mix seating – that was the norm halachikally.

    It seems you have adapted the logic of the hareidim community by using only logic why it should not apply to the mo/ dl community since women are already in the public sphere. Your defense of your position shows an inferiority on Halacha that you presume – but which does not exists. It’s ok for the mo/ dl because it’s halachikally permissible and not because it will create a chilul Hashem ( although that can be added as a valid point). As jeffrey woolf pointed there is no issur at all to look at women. Therefore, your last line becomes problematic.

    The

  27. S. says:

    Hirhurim: “I asked R. Hershel Schachter about publishing women’s pictures and he said that if the woman is dressed according to halakhah then there is no problem.”

    I’m curious if he thinks to specifically have a policy of not publishing it and/ or trying to make this the norm in Orthodoxy is a negative or a neutral thing.

  28. HAGTBG says:

    No one in the MO/main stream DL community is suggesting that womens faces not be published.

    Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is not a mainstream DL figure?


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shlomo_Aviner

  29. HAGTBG says:

    Gil: “I asked R. Hershel Schachter about publishing women’s pictures and he said that if the woman is dressed according to halakhah then there is no problem.”

    S: I’m curious if he thinks to specifically have a policy of not publishing it and/ or trying to make this the norm in Orthodoxy is a negative or a neutral thing.

    S asks the question right. One side here says its wrong to publish the picture of women or, rather, the only good photo of a woman is no photo. One side here says its wrong not to publish the picture of women or, the only good photo of a woman is a modestly dressed one. RHS is not saying either is right; so while its great he’s saying the practices of the MO community for the last few generations isn’t per se prohibited, he’s not saying that maintaining the old status quo in this regard is desirable either.

  30. joel rich says:

    The difficulty I have with much of the charedi poskining is that many competing principles are devalued or left out.
    =======================================
    or is it “The difficulty I have with much of the charedi poskining is that many competing principles that I believe should be given more weight are devalued or left out.”
    KT

  31. joel rich says:

    As previously reported in audioroundup (you know, the post everyone skips :-)):
    R’HS – Tzniut means lead private lives, don’t draw attention to self (Chofeitz Chaim – tzniut can’t be measured with a ruler). Not a bad idea to have separate seating buses, blotting out photos a bit much.

    KT

  32. Hirhurim says:

    To respond to what someone wrote above, in this picture Mrs. Rahav-Meir is wearing a “fall” in a way that I consider mutar le-chatchilah. It falls under the “Reb Moshe heter” that R. Falk disputes in his book but is what I was taught by my rabbeim and R. Yehudah Henkin defends in his book on tzenius.

  33. IH says:

    For those (like me) with little patience for audio/videos:

    http://matzav.com/video-ou-webcast-with-rav-belsky-and-rav-schachter-on-myriad-halacha-issues

    RHS on Tzniyut is 73:10 to 79:45, immediately followed by:
    RHS on Bus Segregation: 79:45 to 81:08

    Worth viewing.

  34. joel rich says:

    R’Gil,
    Does it make you think about the intersection of technical halachic haircovering and the broader category of general tzniut (iirc the argument made is that haircovering is a technical issue proven by the fact that unmarried women are not required to cover)?
    KT

  35. Hirhurim says:

    Does it make you think about the intersection of technical halachic haircovering and the broader category of general tzniut

    Your question is about sheitels in general. A fall is a sheitel but without bangs and therefore much cheaper.

  36. joel rich says:

    r’gil,
    understood.
    KT

  37. Anon says:

    In all seriousness:

    Can someone honestly say that he didn’t “stare” at the photo above and receive at least a minimal amount of “pleasure”.

    Can someone finally define these ambiguous words (pleasure, stare) and not just throw them out there.

    And of course my question above is directed to the men!

  38. Ruvie says:

    Joel rich – “proven by the fact that unmarried women are not required to cover”. – how is it a proven fact?

  39. joel rich says:

    R’ Ruvie,
    Meaning if hair were pure ervah, unmarried women would be required to cover their hair.
    KT

  40. Dov says:

    Beth –

    My recollection is that fences around fences are permitted, but that triple fences are not.

    The general rule is that we do not even institute a gezeira on another gezeira (see Beitza 3a). However, we do find places in which Chazal were not concerned about this rule; especially where they believed it was very likely that one thing would lead to the other. A classic example of this would be their ruling banning eating fowl at the same table as cheese (see Chullin 104b). Tosafos (the page before that; s.v. Umina) the general rule that we don’t institute a gezeira on a gezeira is not, in fact, a general rule. I don’t know of any indication that there is a hard and fast rule about “triple” gezeiros either. If you have a source, I’d like to see it.

    However, there are almost never hard and fast rules.

    Ditto.

    The difficulty I have with much of the charedi poskining is that many competing principles are devalued or left out.

    With all due respect, Beth, are you familiar with all that they are considering, or are you judging as an outsider, from a sociological standpoint? Perhaps it is the former, but if it’s the latter, your criticism is moot.

    By the way, I was not criticizing Hadassah’s article (with the exception of the first, my above posts were directed at Y).

  41. Ruvie says:

    Joel rich – if singing applies to all women – married as well as unmarried – then why shouldn’t covering ones hair be applicable to both- if it’s an issue of ervah? I would not be surprise if hareidim eventually go there since one can find support of this in Halacha. See the shulchan arukh and bait hadash on the tur in even ha-ezer 21:2

  42. IH says:

    (that is of the head covering tangent)

  43. Ruvie says:

    Joel rich – if covering one’s hair is part of tzinut then why is this the only case where Halacha makes a difference between married and non- married women ( there is questions regarding u nmarried women who are not virgins I believe)? Interesting topic – no?

  44. S. says:

    “why is this the only case where Halacha makes a difference between married and non- married women”

    Tradition, tradition!

  45. Dov says:

    The fact that unmarried women do not cover their hair is not proof that the halacha is only a technicality. At least, it’s an oversimplification.

    The fact that unmarried women do not cover their hair is only proof that klal yisroel thinks and is noheig that there is no lack of tznius with uncovered hair. That is all fine and good if such a possibility is sanctioned by halacha. If it is not, well no amount of deluding and practicing would permit idol worship, right? So why would this be different?

    I do believe that it most definitely is sanctioned by halacha. Here’s why:

    The main point I wish to demonstrate is that the obligation for women to cover their hair is not because of ‘ervah’. I’ve written a long megillah and I’m not expecting anyone to read it, but please if you are going to argue with me then at least read what I have to say first.

    The Gemara (Berachos 24a) enumerates certain features of a woman’s body and calls them ‘ervah’. One of these features is hair. The Gemara brings a pasuk, שערך כעדר העיזים שגלשו מהר גלעד, which shows us that the hair of a woman can cause a man to be aroused. Therefore the uncovered hair of a woman has the status of ‘ervah’, and the context of the Gemara is that because of this one may not recite the shema or daven while looking at it.

    There is an unrelated Gemara (Kesubos 72a) which states that a woman is not allowed to go out with an uncovered head, and brings a pasuk, ופרע את ראש האשה, which from the context of the passage in the Torah it is clear that it was done in order to denigrate the woman who is a sotah, so we learn from there that for a woman not to wear a covering on her head when she goes out is derogatory to her.

    Note that the Gemara in Kesubos which makes the derivation from sotah never once mentions an obligation to cover the hair, rather only to cover the head.

    Also, note that the Gemara in Berachos which is attempting to prove that the hair of a woman arouses a man, brings support from a pasuk in Shir Hashirim, and not from a pasuk in the Torah, which would have been a much better proof. If the reason a woman must cover her hair is because it is attractive to men, then we have a source from the Torah itself, i.e. ופרע את ראש האשה.

    [Moreover, IMHO the Gemara in Berachos is clearly an asmachta and not a real drasha, because for the same price the pasuk talks about the woman’s eyes in the same vein – עיניך יונים; all the more reason for the Gemara to have brought ופרע את ראש האשה.]

    There is more to say, but for now suffice it to say I think it is clear from these and other points that the two Gemaras are not related, at least not on the surface level.

    The Gemara in Kesubos refers to covering the head; it makes a drasha that it is not proper for a woman to walk out bareheaded. This is irrelevant to whether or not hair is considered ‘ervah’. Therefore it specifies that certain coverings are technically sufficient, though they do not cover all of the hair.

    However, even that Gemara specifies that ‘das yehudis’ says that a woman should wear a covering which covers much more than what is sufficient according to the letter of the law. This, I believe, is indeed due to the fact that hair is called ‘ervah’. In fact, I found this peshat explicit in the Shitah Mekubetzes b’sheim the Ritz (Nedarim 30b).

    I now wish to demonstrate that at least this part, the ‘ervah’ factor, is subject to societal norms.

    There is a Gemara (Kesubos 17a) that was mentioned in previous threads, that there was an amora who did not follow certain safeguards the chachomim put in place in ‘ervah’ issues. He told the others, “If she is like a beam to you, it is mutar”. Rashi explains, like a piece of wood, that you do not get aroused from.

    There is a well-known Ritva at the end of Kiddushin says that the halacha follows this Gemara. However, he says that one should not rely on it if he is not a חסיד גדול שמכיר ביצרו.

    Surely most of us cannot claim to be such a person. However, the Aruch Hashulchan (E.H. 21:8) paskens l’halacha that one may inquire upon the wellbeing of a woman, even though the Gemara (Kiddushin 70b) says אסור לשאול בשלום אשה כלל. He says that this is because nowadays everyone is used to it, and the halacha follows the Ritva.

    It would seem that although perhaps we aren’t capable of judging for ourselves if something does or doesn’t cause us ‘hirhur’, if the rabbanim and poskim of the generation tell us that there is something that the average person is ‘used to’, we can rely on that. Therefore the Aruch Hashulchan was able to issue a blanket heter according to the Ritva, because he held that this is the nature of the average person nowadays.

    I am making an assumption that this that women dress in a manner that covers the features of their body considered ‘ervah’ is to prevent men from being aroused. I know there are many esoteric ideas thrown about to give different explanations, but I don’t believe them. I think this is the simplest explanation, though I’m open to being proven wrong.

    Assuming I am correct, we should be able to say that if we should find a source in contemporary poskim saying that we are ‘used to’ seeing women’s hair, we could logically deduce from there that the ‘das yehudis’ aspect of covering hair, which is based on ‘ervah’, is no longer applicable.

    While there are those who might argue, the Aruch Hashulchan (O.C. 75:7) says this openly and paskens therefore that one may recite birkas hamazon in front of a woman with uncovered hair, and so pasken many of the recent and contemporary poskim, among them R’ Moshe Feinstein (O.C. 1:42) and R’ Ovadia Yosef (Y.O. 6:13).

    Therefore I think it is plausible to say that according to this we should be able to deduce that the ‘ervah’ factor of covering hair, what is called ‘das yehudis’, simply does not apply nowadays.

    This however does not remove the base halacha that a woman must cover her head, which is ostensibly unrelated to halachos of ‘ervah’, though it certainly limits it. For example, even the most natural looking sheitel is not a problem, because we are ‘used to’ seeing hair and therefore it is not a tznius issue, and it does cover the head, so it takes care of the base halacha derived from ופרע את ראש האשה.

    As for why unmarried women do not wear head-coverings, it is a good question. Perhaps they rely on ופרע meaning something else.

  46. Dov says:

    The above post should answer all the hair/ervah related questions.

  47. Dov says:

    BTW, I did not chas veshalom plagiarize that. If you should Google it and see it posted somewhere else, it is because I, myself, have posted it there too.

  48. IH says:

    Dov — I think you are in violent agreement in your summary statement “The main point I wish to demonstrate is that the obligation for women to cover their hair is not because of ‘ervah’”

  49. Dov says:

    IH – Absolutely. I just thought that the “proof” brought was a major oversimplification at best, and I wanted to support the contention properly.

  50. avi says:

    “Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is not a mainstream DL figure?”

    Not really, he is a Chardal rabbi, and the self proclaimed holder of Rav Kook’s legacy. But I know people who don’t follow many of his rulings, such as sock wearing.

    Regarding the hair of unmarrried women. I know a group of Rambamists who insist that unmarried women must cover their hair as well, like the Muslims.

  51. Dov says:

    avi – You don’t have to be a Rambamist; Shulchan Aruch says so too.

  52. R’ Joel:

    “Meaning if hair were pure ervah, unmarried women would be required to cover their hair.”

    doesn’t rambam codify that unmarried females cover?
    anyway, issues of erva in general are to a certain extent arbitrary (subject of course to requisite prooftexts and other evidence). the married/unmarried distinction is curious, but ultimately it is just as arbitrary as all the other ervah definitions.

  53. Toronto Yid says:

    Dov:

    I thought what you were leading to as to why unmarried women don’t cover their hair (or more accurately don’t wear a head covering) is that wearing a head covering is a sign of being married – ie is not a pnuyah. This is one of the explanations I’ve seen.

  54. Dov says:

    Toronto Yid –

    It isn’t my intention here to explain why unmarried women might not have to cover their hair; all I was trying to demonstrate was that even for a married woman, there is no ervah issue nowadays.

    As for your reason (I believe RSRH says it in Parshas Naso), I cannot accept this as viable according to normative halacha. First of all, Rambam and Shulchan Aruch do not differentiate as such, so it’s quite a bold stance to take, simply speculating on ta’ama dikra without any evidence and using that speculation to justify arguing with rishonim. Second, we do find distinctions between besulah and be’ula, such as in the Sifre there, which tells us that Tamar covering her head after she was raped can be read (while not a necessary reading) as following this halacha. Now what exactly would such a distinction have to do with marriage?

  55. Hezi says:

    There is no issur to look at women, only to stare. But because some men who look will inevitably stare, a woman’s picture is forbidden because of lifnei iver. By the same logic, it is problematic for women to be in locations where men will see them. One way of solving that problem is by never leaving the house. But since men are forbidden to do anything other than Torah study, and working at home is impractical because the internet is forbidden, and even in eretz yisroel we have not managed to get the government to raise kollel stipends to the level that can support a family of 10+ kids, there is a real dilemma. Many frum women, though, have solved the problem by making themselves look as ugly as possible, so that there is no danger of lifnei iver when they go to work.

  56. Dov says:

    Hezi –

    By the same logic, it is problematic for women to be in locations where men will see them.

    No; there is a simple flaw in that logic. Restricting a woman from leaving the house is imposing a serious restriction on her autonomy, while restricting a magazine from posting pictures of women does not stop any woman from doing whatever she wants.

  57. emma says:

    i’m pretty sure hezi was either joking or trolling.

  58. Y. Aharon says:

    Dov, yasher koach for your analysis of a rather complex issue. This issue also the subject of a learned article by Rav Broyde which created some controversy when it was posted by R’ Gil. I only wish to suggest 2 points to consider. The limud in Ketubot from the wording in parshat sotah might apply only to a married woman,i.e., a sotah is by definition a married woman. Furthermore, the wording of the torah, ‘ufara’ could be translated as ‘undo’ rather than uncover since the root word appears to mean ‘wild’ or ‘free’. If so, that would indicated that the biblical custom was for married women to have their hair done up in braids. As a corollary, a woman would undo and comb out her hair prior to going to bed. Undone hair could then be treated as something that attracts male interest.

    In traditional European societies, girls wore their hair in dangling braids, a feature less enticing to the male eye. In modern culture, braids are no longer in fashion. Yet, societal norms prevail that unmarried women wear their hair long and uncovered.

  59. ruvie says:

    s. – ““why is this the only case where Halacha makes a difference between married and non- married women”
    Tradition, tradition!”

    my point in quoting the shulchan arukh (add the rambam too) is that today it may be tradition that jewish single women do not cover their hair but the rambam’s and shulchan arukh’s time tradition was that they do. funny thing about tradition is it depends on what point in time you looking at it and why tradition argument is a poor or weak sense argument.

  60. ruvie says:

    Dov – even though hezi is joking or making fun i find your answer problematic. consider the following:

    if tomorrow hareidim decide to: 1. no allow their women to leave their house more than 2 times a month and/or not allow women to walk in the streets when when are around 2. refuse to educate their daughters except to lean the aleph bet in order to pray 3. marry off their daughters at the age of 8 and consumate their marriage at 12 1/2 years old

    they would have more of an halachik basis of talmud and post talmud poskin to stand on than not publishing pictures of women in newspapers – correct or not (see your answer to hezi that i think is wrong).

  61. Moshe Shoshan says:

    “restricting a magazine from posting pictures of women does not stop any woman from doing whatever she wants.”

    But it does create an enviornment in which women are invisible and are not given full credit for theirs accomplishments (e.g. Hillary Clinton)

  62. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Dov: No one is saying that these magazine should be restricted fr blurring or omitting the pictures of women. At the same time no one should restrict us from expressing our disgust with this policy of making women invisible. You strike me as an intelligent fellow. Do you really not understand how the mind-set that makes women invisible ends up by restricting their autonomy?

  63. Hezi says:

    Rabbeinu Yonah, Igeres Hateshuva:
    “וצריכה האשה שתהא צנועה ונזהרת שלא יסתכלו בה בני אדם חוץ מבעלה שהמסתכלים בפניה או בידיה יורדין לגיהנם, ענושה בעונש כל אחד ואחד מהם מפני שהחטיאה אותם ולא נהגה צניעות בעצמה ונכשלו בה”.

    This is talking about a woman who has nothing uncovered except her hands and face!

  64. Dov says:

    Y. Aharon –

    Thank you. You mention two possibilities; 1) that the Gemara is not referring to an unmarried woman, and 2) that ופרע refers to something broader than a removing a head covering. The first is a bit problematic, as it is not solidly grounded in much, and it seems to directly conflict with the halacha according to Rambam and Shulchan Aruch. As for the second, the Shevus Yaakov is famous for making this claim. It does seem to clash head on with all the rishonim I’ve seen (see, for example Tosafos Nazir 3a) who say that the word means simply to uncover. But I acknowledge that is a possibility.

  65. Dov says:

    Ruvie and Lawrence –

    I agree with the general opinion of those who say that the pictures should not be blurred. I was simply pointing out a flaw in that specific argument. Lack of nuance such as found in that argument leads people to think one doesn’t have any real basis for his opinion.

  66. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    beth — electricity is a bad example.

    though it (prob) is only a (possible) derabbanan, it has aquired the status of de’oraita in our day, by all factions of judaism (even C and R consider it as impermissible as any other melacha (that they dont abide by anyway.)).

    רב כהנא אמר מהכא (ויקרא יח, ל) ושמרתם את משמרתי עשו משמרת למשמרתי

    one mishmeret is allowed. a second isnt. adam harishon telling chava not to touch, when the prohibition was only not to eat.

  67. Shlomo says:

    Hezi, I googled that quote, and what did I find but Hebrew Wikipedia arguing that according to Chazal, women are embarrassed by being stared at and the whole point of the issur histaclut is to protect women from embarrassment, and only later on did the rishonim begin arguing that the issue was men being enticed to have impure thoughts.

    http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A6%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%AA_%28%D7%99%D7%94%D7%93%D7%95%D7%AA%29

  68. Larry Lennhoff says:

    it has aquired the status of de’oraita in our day, by all factions of judaism (even C and R consider it as impermissible as any other melacha (that they dont abide by anyway.))
    Off topic, but this is false for factions of all of C, O and R.
    Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach considered the prohibition of all electricity on Shabbat to be a universally accepted minhag.

    In C Hebrew School, I was taught that one accepted C view was that electricity was neutral, what counted was how it was used. Turning on an electric fan was permitted, but you could not use an electric oven because that would transgress bishul.

  69. IH says:

    It seems to me that this post – and particularly the “chillul hashem” argument in the final paragraph — betrays a deeper socio-political issue that, in Israel, is specific to the (Anglo) Dati Leumi community.

    Does anyone seriously believe that the manipulation or exclusion of photographs of women in the fundamentalist Orthodox world will change the wider public view of that community, or tar the modern Orthodox world? I highly doubt it.

    What I suspect we are seeing, however, is a growing discomfort within the modern (Anglo) Dati Leumi camp to the encroachment of these conflicting Torah views on the role of women into their turf. And a natural rationalization to avoid dealing with the conflict is to de-legitimize the other view as a “chillul hashem”.

    At the end of the day, as Dov has been pointing out, there are Rabbinic voices in both directions; so, the issue is not one of textual legitimacy, but of socio-political choices.

  70. Dov says:

    MiMedinat HaYam –

    one mishmeret is allowed. a second isnt

    See my response to Beth. Also a proof from your peshat in an Aggada is not a proof.

  71. Shlomo says:

    IH, when the charedim do the same, it’s equally a chilul hashem. We protest less because we have no power to stop it.

  72. IH says:

    Shlomo — to be more direct, the chilul hashem rationalization is for people who can’t reconcile themselves to the fact there are legitimate voices in their tradition that are antithetical to their beliefs. By delegitimizing those other voices, they avoid dealing with the complex reality.

  73. Shlomo says:

    IH, I don’t think any voices in the tradition call throwing excrement at 8 year old girls.

  74. IH says:

    Shlomo — that is not what we’re discussing in this post (or comments).

  75. Dov says:

    The chilul hashem rationalization is for people who can’t reconcile themselves to the fact there are legitimate voices in their tradition that are antithetical to their beliefs. By delegitimizing those other voices, they avoid dealing with the complex reality.

    Well put.

  76. Shlomo says:

    IH, you’re right, my last comment ignored the context of the thread. Perhaps I should not be so quick to post after 11pm.

    Anyway, I have not yet seen a pre-modern precedent for modifying or erasing pictures of modestly dressed women. And for the record, there are precedents of not removing pictures of very immodestly dressed women.
    http://seforim.blogspot.com/2010/12/modesty-and-piety-improving-on-past.html

  77. Ruvie says:

    Shlomo – prof. Mark Shapiro has a whole lecture – on censorship- based on current offsets eliminating these pictures ( either scantily clad or semi naked women) on the front page of many seforim seemed not to bother the Jewish community then ( as well as the authors who were great rabbis). One would think they were more puritanical then than now.

  78. IH says:

    One would think they were more puritanical then than now.

    I disagree. Reasons for increased puritanism (an ironic term) include, unavoidable integration with non-Jewish society in the US, climate, influence of individualism and consumerism and most stridently a reaction to the 1960s.

  79. S. says:

    “One would think they were more puritanical then than now.”

    I think only the very puritanical people think that. That’s partially how they justify the puritanism.

  80. Ruvie says:

    IH – weare talking about the 16th – 18th century books. The censorship is only in the last 50’or so years I believe. We have been integrating since the enlightenment. We cover less now than then – for women I think.

  81. IH says:

    Ruvie — then we agree. I thought you were saying that in the 16th to 18th century, the Rabbis were more puritanical than now — with which I disagreed.

  82. “Does anyone seriously believe that the manipulation or exclusion of photographs of women in the fundamentalist Orthodox world will . . . tar the modern Orthodox world?”

    yes. this has already been debated on a previous thread. there too i threw my hat with those who think non-dati israelis don’t generally distinguish between dati, chardal, haredi, etc.
    to them we’re all dosim.

  83. mor says:

    You dont need to be a lefty feminist to find this kind of thing offensive.

    From Chabad.org:

    Around 1980, the Rebbe initiated a campaign to encourage children to take more part in the overall public activities and initiatives of Chabad, and become part of Tzivos HaShem, “The Troops of G-d.” Many pamphlets were produced for this campaign, and the chassidim who were in charge of it founded a journal for children called The Moshiach Times. Several highly interesting editorial comments and corrections to this magazine were also made by the Rebbe. One of the later staffers of the journal, Dr. David Sholom Pape, compiled a series of these.14 He relates that on the cover of the very first issue there was a drawing of two rows of children — one of boys and above it another of girls, each child carrying a banner with a letter on it , which all together spelled the words Ahavat Yisrael, “Love of a fellow Jew” (figure 1).

    One of the older chassidim on the staff balked and wondered if it was “modest and chassidish for boys and girls to be on the same cover.” The younger members of the staff argued that since it was a magazine for both boys and girls, it was indeed appropriate. To resolve the dispute, the cover was sent to the Rebbe for his instructions on the matter. The Rebbe, however, did not instruct the staff to remove the girls from the cover.

    The matter arose again when the second issue was prepared for Purim, and the cover had a boy and girl in Purim costumes, dressed as Mordechai and Esther blowing bubbles in which were images of the mitzvot of Purim (figure 2). Again objections were raised that such an image of a boy and girl playing together in proximity was against chassidic ethics; the previous cover had had the boys and girls separated in row, but now the boy and girl were next to each other! The cover was again sent to the Rebbe, who simply returned it with a check indicating it was fine to print.

    The third issue was designed for Passover and had a cover sketch of a boy looking into a stamp album, each stamp depicting one of the fifteen steps of the Passover seder. The angle of the drawing and size of boy’s head and the album left no room for an image of a girl as well. Since the other two covers had been sent in, this cover was also sent to the Rebbe for approval and the answer came back:

    Tzarikh lihiot gam na’arah — “There also needs to be a girl.”

    The artist redrew and redesigned the cover to add the head of a girl on the left side and the boy on the right side (figure 3), and by then a custom had been established to send the covers in to the Rebbe for all the issues.

    A few years afterwards in 1984, a cover was prepared by a well-known cartoonist for the Elul issue, portraying a boy returning home from summer camp to his room, carrying his sports equipment. The room is portrayed as filled with holy objects, equipment for a solider in the Tzivos HaShem — chumash, siddur, charity box, and so forth, and he is wearing a kippah and tzitzit. The cover was sent into the Rebbe who returned it with two comments: “The tzitzit should be seen” and “There must also be a girl in another corner.”

  84. Anonymous says:

    I just printed out this post, comments and all to see what it’s about…

    …but of course I first deleted that terrible, innapropiate picture!

  85. shaul shapira says:

    “There is a problem of women speaking in public to men. See the comments of the frumteens moderator here:”

    Yoni- respectfully , I am not going to read pages and pages of drivel from some moderator who thinks everyone who disaagrees with him is a hellbound heretic. If you have a halachic source to post, do so. Otherwise you are likely wasting everyones time.

  86. joel rich says:

    Lack of nuance such as found in that argument
    ========================================
    is there lack of nuance in arguing that hair can’t be equated with other ervah given the fact that uncovered hair is permitted (current accepted practice) for unmarried women?
    KT

  87. emma says:

    is there lack of nuance in arguing that hair can’t be equated with other ervah given the fact that uncovered hair is permitted (current accepted practice) for unmarried women?

    or in noting that the “ervah” status of the photo above depends entirely on facts not contained in the photo (such as whether she is maried and whether it is a wig).

  88. mor says:

    I don’t think that it is relevant whether posters here think that a married woman’s hair is ervah or not. It is relevant that there are charedi poskim who say that it is. In fact, a bunch of them hold that even the “Rav Moshe hair” in front is ervah. If there is any good excuse to blur a picture, it would be that the picture in front of you has what you believe to be ervah in it.

    Also: dati leumi women, unless they are really super cloistered Amercians, don’t wear sheitels or falls. If this lady is a native Hebrew speaker, she is just wearing a kerchief on top of her long hair, not a “Stern fall.”

  89. pink gun says:

    Your question is about sheitels in general. A fall is a sheitel but without bangs and therefore much cheaper.

    a fall is not cheaper because it doesn’t have bangs, and you can add bangs to them for a relatively trivial sum. tights are only a subset of hosiery, and denier is printed on packages of stockings and not a crossword puzzle word (that last one was not you, but rather a commenter)….it’s great that you and some commenters are better-informed about halacha than other topics, but you render yourself(ves) unqualified to render opinions about anything subjective (including on which blocks in brooklyn one can wear what type of hosiery, but that’s a separate post). it’s amusing, but it’s also almost impossible for me to read clueless comments from men weighing in on women’s clothing who don’t know what anything is called, or why or what or when, without thinking that those whose say it’s all about men dictating to women might have a point… can you do me a favor and next time you are tempted to “Explain” about another women’s type of clothing and so on, can you remember that you are shterring my emunas chachomim over here??

  90. pink gun says:

    the seridei eish 1: 78 discusses the shvus yaakov on ufarah meaning unbraid, and more or less definitely disproves that the gemara means unbraid.

  91. pink gun says:

    (the gemara, and therefore halacha lemaase – his proof is not really about the meaning in posuk)

  92. Sammy says:

    Yesterday’s Yediot Acharonot had an article about the new shekel bills that will come into use next year. Two of these new billls have pictures of- GASP!- women, the poetess Rachel and the author Leah Goldberg. Somehow, I doubt that our chareidi friends will immediately tear up and destroy any of these bills that come into their possesion. If there’s anything that this chevra loves more than their chumras, it’s gelt- preferably the non-traceable cash kind. Gelt will trump any and all halachos, real or imagined. And so, I predict a line of Phoney baloney “heterim” to possess these “treife” objects (“It’s not really a picture, it’s a computer imaged drawing so its ok”), and thus we will witness thousands of these holy men who would shrei chai vekayam at the thought of a picture of a woman in Yated or Mishpacha all of a sudden carrying around wads of them in their “tax exempt” pockets.

  93. mor says:

    pink gun –
    falls are most definitely cheaper than sheitels. Where was that rant even coming from?

    sammy –
    you do realize that people in the gemara are praised for never looking at coins with images of a”z on them?

  94. pink gun says:

    i wasn’t accusing him of not knowing the size of the dent in his pocketbook, but his explanation thereof was …what’s the word, “unnuanced.”

  95. Hirhurim says:

    I actually know way too much about sheitels from unfortunate exposure to the business when my wife managed the office of an importer. If you feel an irrelevant unnuanced toss-away line is reason to condemn, so be it.

  96. Hirhurim says:

    Mor: Rahav-Meir is a BT who self-identifies as Charedi.

  97. Dov says:

    Joel –

    is there lack of nuance in arguing that hair can’t be equated with other ervah given the fact that uncovered hair is permitted (current accepted practice) for unmarried women?

    It is an argument which simply requires more information. Whoever said that ervah has anything to do with what society does; and who said unmarried women are doing the right thing? A historical argument is not necessarily a halachic one.

  98. joel rich says:

    nd who said unmarried women are doing the right thing?
    ================================================
    ok, i think we can leave it at that.
    K

  99. Shachar Ha'amim says:

    “To respond to what someone wrote above, in this picture Mrs. Rahav-Meir is wearing a “fall” in a way that I consider mutar le-chatchilah. It falls under the “Reb Moshe heter” that R. Falk disputes in his book but is what I was taught by my rabbeim and R. Yehudah Henkin defends in his book on tzenius.”

    But the pamphlet wasn’t targeted at you!! or at a closed kehilla who relies on RMF, your rebbeim and RYH!

    It was directed at a charedi public. Which presumably includes many sefardi charedim who hold like ROY that a sheitel is assur (and kal vechomer a “fall”). For that matter this particular pamphlet is apparently a local Rechovot publication. Rechovot also has one of the largest religious Yemenite communities in Israel. Yemenites traditionally followed the practice of the Rambam which prescribed unmarried mature girls covering their hair (one can argue whether or not this mesora is still relevant for Yemenite Jews in Israel…). Moreover, Rechovot has many of the recent religious immigrants from Yemen, including families which actually still follow the practice of the Rambam.

    Again, I’m not advocating that we accept these practices – and I’m very disturbed at the Machon Meir situation and Rav Aviner’s response to it.

    But if Rav Herschel Schechter says that if the woman is dressed according to Halacha then there is no problem with the picture and there are people who are of the view that a sheitel/wig on a married woman or uncovered hair on an unmarried bogeres is not according to halacha, then I think that the conclusion is obvious.

  100. Shachar Ha'amim says:

    “Lawrence Kaplan on January 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    Dov: No one is saying that these magazine should be restricted fr blurring or omitting the pictures of women. At the same time no one should restrict us from expressing our disgust with this policy of making women invisible. You strike me as an intelligent fellow. Do you really not understand how the mind-set that makes women invisible ends up by restricting their autonomy?”

    I am not disgusted by the policy and mind-set. So long as as it stays within the charedi community. It’s when the charedim get elected to run a mixed city like beit shemesh and the official city hall circulars and posters no longer feature women that it becomes a problem http://chadash-asur.blogspot.com/2011/06/as-if-we-wouldnt-notice.html

  101. Nachum says:

    Sammy: One wonders if they’ll have the women on the higher or lower bills. Lower, they can carry coins. Higher…they can carry smaller bills? Let’s see if it alternates man-woman.

    Personally, I have more of a problem with Tschernikovsky on a bill than a woman.

    Mor: That’s avodah zara, and that’s a raised image. But then, Golda Meir appeared on the first few ten shekel coins.

    Shachar: Oh, my Lord.

  102. IH says:

    On the historical trends discussed in earlier comments, the current issue of Jewish Review of Books has an article (not yet available online) with some relevancy — http://www.jewishreviewofbooks.com/publications/detail/secularism-and-sabbateans:

    The same may be said for sexual transgressions, which were often linked to dressing in a provocative Gentile fashion. Rabbi Jacob Emden, a key rabbinic critic of the new behaviours, specifically linked cutting one’s beard “to make him look like a female” with “flirtation with beautiful naked women . . . [and] lovely buxom harlots.” But the evidence for sexual promiscuity in 18th-century Germany does not look significantly different from 13th-century Spain or 16th-century Italy. This is a comparative question that Feiner might have raised to shed light on what was truly new in the 18th-century.

  103. Hirhurim says:

    Shachar: But the pamphlet wasn’t targeted at you!! or at a closed kehilla who relies on RMF, your rebbeim and RYH!

    You have a point but it is not entirely relevant. They will not publish a picture of any woman, no matter how she is dressed.

  104. Nachum says:

    So, Shachar, if people are acting in a foolish, ugly, and/or non-halachic matter, we’re not allowed to say so if it doesn’t affect “us”?

  105. IH says:

    Of course you can, Nachum, but: a) the choice of words used needs to be convincing; and, b) one needs to be honest about for whom a response is necessary.

  106. IH says:

    As I posited earlier: The chilul hashem rationalization is for people who can’t reconcile themselves to the fact there are legitimate voices in their tradition that are antithetical to their beliefs. By delegitimizing those other voices, they avoid dealing with the complex reality.

  107. shaul shapira says:

    “Of course you can, Nachum, but: a) the choice of words used needs to be convincing; and, b) one needs to be honest about for whom a response is necessary.”

    I agree. I think it’s the same thing with the women-working-to- support-their-kollel-husbands issue. While I’m not nearly as gung-ho about the model as some others, the facts are that my three siblings in lakewood are doing just fine with it and maintain an incredibly high quality of life with it. I certainly don’t claim that any other communties ought to adopt this practice but I find it insulting bordering on amusing when certain relatives of mine insinuate that the females in the family are being used, are discriminated against etc, etc. There are certain realities on the ground in (at the very least) the American Chareidi community, that simply aren’t that amenable to brute statistics.

  108. Charlie Hall says:

    ” But the evidence for sexual promiscuity in 18th-century Germany does not look significantly different from 13th-century Spain or 16th-century Italy.”

    We pretend that sexual promiscuity is something new in the late 20th century. That is not consistent with historical evidence. In addition to the examples mentioned, the teen birth rate in the US peaked in 1957. Victorian England had very high rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

    And if you go back to Mishnaic times, their portrayal of the licentiousness of gentiles in the Roman Empire is backed up by historical accounts, at least regarding the upper classes.

  109. Dov says:

    I realized today that סרך בתה is a pretty good example of a “triple” gezeira (and possibly more – see Beis Yosef YD 197).

  110. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    “Victorian England had very high rates of sexually transmitted diseases.” cause by then, they knew it was that, and not some other disease. and / or better recordkeeping.

    2. the family has the right to say what mrs fogel hy”d would have wanted, re: photos. not rav aviner, not someone else. if the publication doesnt like it, go fundraise somewhere else.

  111. Hadassah,

    I hope you didn’t see my comment as criticism. I completely agree with you that this is a Chilul haShem that goes way beyond a socially motivated “I have my customs; you have yours but I don’t like them”.

    I just think we learn more about Torah and how to “walk humbly with our G-d” by pushing ourselves to name what we understand is creating the Chilul haShem. I know I do.

    See my post at http://jacobsbones.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/murder-victims-modesty-and-memory/ .

    Dov:
    There is so much wrong with this blurring of pictures, that I think sociology is superfluous. The lack of balance I was referring to was a tendency to get so preoccupied with modesty that we forget to consider the impact on mitzvot related to justice and mercy. Even looking at this comment stream, maybe no more than 5%, brainstorm about possible mitzvot that might be violated by expecting women to disappear from photos. Micah (6:8) tells us that G-d requires justice and mercy from us, not just modesty. We simply can’t leave them out of the equation.

  112. Dov says:

    Beth – I hear your point, but aren’t “justice and mercy” themselves perceived differently from different sociological standpoints?

  113. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Dov: I think that not printing pictures of women in general is pretty disgusting. But you want to say there are different points of view, nu, nu. However, printing the picture of the Fogel family, HYD, and then blocking out Ruti Fogel’s face and then R. Aviner’s baslessly claiming that that is what she would have wanted, a complete and demonstarble falsehood, is on an entirely different plane of offensiveness and makes me see red.

  114. Dov says:

    Lawrence – I agree that it was offensive and wrong.

  115. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Dov: I’m glad we’re on the same page regarding this.

  116. S. says:

    ” In addition to the examples mentioned, the teen birth rate in the US peaked in 1957.”

    While I agree with your point in general (sex was not invented in the 1960s), how many of these teens were 16, 17, 18, and 19 year old brides? While I agree that in many cases getting married at that age is not a recipe for a healthy future, a 17 year old mother with her baby and her 19 year old husband is not a 17 year old single mother.

  117. Dov wrote: — Beth – I hear your point, but aren’t “justice and mercy” themselves perceived differently from different sociological standpoints? —

    My apology for the slow reply.

    I don’t think there is a simple answer to that question. On one hand, mercy isn’t mercy if it ignores individual circumstances. Justice isn’t justice if it ignores society.

    On the other hand, there is quite a bit of Torah, Halachah, and Jewish Thought to go through before we get to the sociological. Our tradition expends quite a bit of effort to give us tools for thinking through what justice and mercy actually mean in complex human reactions and situations.

    I think we throw up our hands and say “Taiku! Its just socialogical” far too quickly. It ends all dialog and creates barriers between streams that don’t need to be there. Text and Ahavat Israel is the common ground out of which the Jewish people grow.

 
 

Submit a Response

 

You must be logged in to submit a response.