Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday is a Good Day for a Rant

Let's cut through all the high flown rhetoric about "today's" sheitles and put things to a test.

First, all rabbonim will get together and agree that sheitles are to be banned. Foreseeing some problems here? Point out to me when, in our times, ALL rabbonim have ever agreed on anything. But hey, it's my daydream so somehow they are all going to agree.

Beware of what you wish for.

Set the ban into place beginning next Sunday. I'll go on record as stating that the ban might last as long as next Thursday, maybe. And who will be up in arms about the ban? Some women might publically flaunt the ban. But it's going to be men who will defeat it. Men, who hate tichlach, snoods and hats. Men who are going to wonder where their beloved wives disappeared to, replaced by the hairless wonders wandering the streets. Men who will suddenly remember that one definition that the Gemorah gives for "miyus"--ugliness--is a bald woman, and a shmate is as close to bald for men as to make no difference.

And then there will be the men who find themselves having lascivious thoughts about long pieces of shmates, who just might have to admit that the problem lies within them, not with what a woman has on her head. And when yeshiva bochrim have improper thoughts about a picture of a woman wearing a cholent-pot hat, then what? Shall we go after hat store owners?
Of course, there will be those few men who will point out that it is not sheitles that are the problem--it is women! And they will say the ban did not go far enough--it is women who need to be banned. By all means, let's make a reality of the "Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars" statement--let's segregate the sexes so completely that they never have to see each other. And no worries either about the continuation of the species. We live in such a wonderful technological society that even for this purpose men and women will never have to see each other.

And rabbonim and roshei hayeshiva are going to be up there with all the other men protesting. Tell me something, have you ever seen a shlumpy, frumpy rosh yeshiva's wife? Or a shlumpy shule rebbetzin? I was priveleged for many years to know the wife of the RY of CB. She was always beautifully turned out, and stylishly so. And she wore beautifully styled blond sheitlach. Nor was she the only rebbetzin who was and is like this.

Most normal men are going to look at the whole ban as a piece of social engineering gone bad. And there will be a revolt. And by next Shabbos a man's eyshis chayil will be back at the table with a full head of hair, and men will find that it is safe for them to be back out on the streets again. And maybe, just maybe, men will learn that mixing into "veiberishe zachen" can only bring chaos.


Anonymous said...

Feeling brave today aren'6t you? Still it needed to be said and about time someone said it.

Anonymous said...

The post reminds me that this country thought Prohibition would be a good idea too. We know how badly that worked out. Not only did we have to get rid of Prohibition but we got stuck with a whole bunch of new problems that came about when prohibition was in, problems we still have and can't get rid of even today like organized crime. Has anyone really worked through what married life and shalom bayis is going to be like if sheitlach are banned?

Anonymous said...

My husband's rebbe was making noises about women wearing sheitels so he asked me not to wear mine. I said fine and then announced that I would have to quit my job the next day. The school where I teach doesn't let the women teachers wear hats. Then I asked him for $3000 because I was going to need to buy hats and tichels that matched all the clothes I had. And then I went with him to a vort where except for the kallah and her friends who did not have hair covered at all I was the only woman who was wearing a tichel, because I had no hat to match the appropriate outfit. Yes people were talking and it was not comfortable but it solved things really well. The next day my husband handed me my sheitlel box and said put on the sheitle. There hasn't been any more of the no sheitle garbage. Must have been the same with some of the other wives because the rebbe doesn't talk about shetles any more.

Anonymous said...

veiberishe zachen?

ProfK said...

Veiberishe zachen--literally women's things or more commonly women's business.

Anonymous said...

Just what kind of a lousy job are the mechanchim in our boys yeshivas doing when everything and anything is a temptation and a provocation of a sexual nature? The attitude seems to be boys will be boys so we need to change the world around them in protection. What the rebbis need to be doing is changing the boys and their attitudes. My husband and I raised fine boys whose feet didn't stray off the derech because we taught them which paths they could travel on and which detours were dangerous for their health. What ridiculous permisiveness have the rebbeim adopted that allows them to say that boys cannot help themselves. It's a lousy excuse for rebbis who aren't doing their job.

Anonymous said...

Pretty easy to blame everything on the rebbis when a boy acts like a boy. Where are the parents in all of this?

ProfK said...

In answer to anonymous,

Where are the parents? Better question to ask is where are the boys? In dormitories under the supervision of other boys barely older than they are. The yeshiva system is set up so that adolescent boys are no longer living with their parents. I've posted before that many problems of "growing up" are caused by dormitories and taking what are still young children away from the eagle eyes of their parents.

If you take boys who are entering adolescence away from their homes and put them into a dormitory, then the yeshiva has the responsibility to act as parent, and as a good parent. When rebbis are de facto a student's parent then they need to start acting like a parent. And that includes the sometimes uncomfortable discussions about "entering manhood" topics. Nor, as any good parent can attest to, do you have that conversation only once.

I'm going to agree with the reader who posted that the problem with yeshiva bochrim oggling pictures of fully clothed women wearing sheitlach belongs fully with the yeshiva and its rebbeim. If they are going to usurp the role of parents then they had better start acting like parents, and good ones at that. Otherwise it's just another form of child abuse or child abandonment.

Anonymous said...

There was an article posted on a blog a while back about frum women in Israel who are wearing burqas (sp?) now. If they ban sheitels can this be far behind?

Anonymous said...

As you mention sheitle style is sometimes a matter of age or place you live or job or even shul you go to. But they are all style and they come in and go out. Even just one woman may not wear the same style sheitle all the time. Why would rabbanim get themselves all heated up about something that isn't even going to last?

I also think I would have liked to have read somewhere that the Rosh Yeshiva gave a mussar shmuz to the yeshiva about hanging out in places they have no business being. If the boys were standing in front of the window staring at pictures then they were also standing around and looking at the customers coming in and out of the store.

Anonymous said...

Ever notice how frum men spend an awful lot of time discussing women, women's habits, women's customs and everything else womanish. Makes you wonder if they spend any time discussing their own habits and customs or if they use us as an excuse for not having to look at themselves?

Anonymous said...

I've been married long enough that I've learned the correct and important answers to these questions. So, how do you like my new dress? Answer: It's beautiful, just like the wearer. Do I look fat in this outfit? Answer: Of course not! I had the sheitle combed differently this time. Do you like it? Answer: Wow!

Any married man who mixes into fashion for women is going to deserve any trouble he gets.

Looking Forward said...

this doesn't make anysense at all. is the problem that men are interfearing in women's business (which is reprehensible. If asked by one's wife one can venture an opinion, and only if solicited) or is it that the men will be repulsed by their wives?

You're not making much of any sense.

I'm well aware of the turns of fashion, me being who I am keep up to some degree with such things (although it baffles me, if I were a girl I'd dress how I felt was tznius and I wouldn't care what any one else, man or woman thought) but its like, which one actualy bother's you? is it that the men won't be attracted to their wives (which isn't necesserily true) or that women have a right to dress how they choose? (which is certainly true. Tznius isn't any business of any man to set standards.)

and yes I find the whole regarding boys as creatures incapable of self control is child abuse and reprehensible, I agree. (this I can have an oppinion on.) although I often feel like boys wouldn't be looking at girls this way if they understood that girls are people with whom they can form very rewarding interpersonal relationships with, and whom have their own feelings and preferences.