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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Clarifiation about Judaism and the Taliban

When I compared Judaism to the Taliban I did not mean to equate them by any stretch of the imagination. What I meant to say is that to a degree from an outsider's perspective they would look the same.

Here is a good example. Someone commented that that Taliban forced women to wear burkas, even Satmar doesn't do that. Let us look at what Satmar and other chassidic groups make their women wear.
1. Shave their head (some Chassidic groups)
2. Wear some kind of head covering (a wig, a kerchief, etc.) in any and all weather (even if it is 100 degrees outside
3. Wear long sleeves
4. Wear only long skirts or dresses (no pants)
5. Wear heavy non opaque stockings with a line down the back
The fact is that even the non-chassidic groups, for example, the wives of many/most (hopefully all) the people reading this wear a variant of the following, head covering (wig, hat, etc.), long sleeves, no pants, stockings, etc. It is not as extreme but only to a degree.

If you look at this from the perspective from a modern western woman, how is this better then the Taliban? A woman is still forced to wear a restrictive set of clothing to cover up her body. The only difference is in the specifics.

The same applies to other areas. In a Halchic state the law would be that someone who does melacha on Shabbos gets the death penalty, etc.

5 Comments:

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the specifics matter a great deal! The orthodox non chassidic dress code is remarkably similar to what many corporate environments require!

shaving head is possibly ossur, on several grounds, acc. even to many other chassidim.
the seamed stocking is nonsense, acc. to most poskim. it was a hangup of the satmar rov that anything less was maras haayin (Or that it didnt matter if it was erva or a stocking, so long as men looked? who knows)

who says that the hungarians didn't pick up alien ideas from the environment they were in?
do you really think that some of these ideas didn't come from local peasantry's attitude to women?

 
At 10:20 AM, Blogger anonymous said...

i really object to your equation of practices that are literally objected to on halachic grounds - that are not frummer - as authentically jewish. part of the presumption here is that come moshiach we will abide by halacha, not by distortions of halacha that arose in golus.

for that matter, many of the laws of tznius are relative to time and place and general culture and it is by no means clear that the requirement for full head covering - which is a takana - was intended for contemporary society. you have no way of knowing whether we will return to d'oreisa, minimal covering for married women only.

similarly, whether the universals encoded in SA are really universals is also up for dispute. much chazal enacted was not a comment on "ideals" but was in reaction to the society they lived in. All married women, gentile and jew, covered their hair completely, so they enacted that all women must, because those walking around with uncovered hair were doing the equivalent of taking a ring off in a bar.
who says any of this is intended as permanent?

there's a real lack of awareness of how much we are stuck with in golus that may not have been intended to be permanent that pervades these discussions of what will be when moshiach comes

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger bluke said...

שער באשה ערוה is הלכה. The requirement for a married woman to cover her hair is a דין דאורייתא according to most פוסקים. I don't know where you work, but where I work (in Israel and before that in NY) a religious woman stood out like a sore thumb. She was the only one wearing a skirt, wearing long sleeves in the summer, wearing a wig etc.

You can't deny that the halacha sets standards of dress for women that are much higher then the general society. Do you go to the mall in the summer, do you see what the girls are wearing?

In a halachik state dressing like Britney Spears would be prohibited by law, do you disagree? That is religous coersion.

In fact, Britney Spears would not be able to give performances, קול באשה ערוה. No women pop stars, no opera, no musicals, no sex on TV and movies, how would all that go over in the Western world?

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger bluke said...

The specifics don't matter. My point is very simple. There is no question that halacha requires women to dress differently then what is accepted in general Western society. I hope that you would agree that the halacha forbids a women from walking around dressed like Britney Spears, or wearing a tanktop, mini-skirt, shorts, bikini, etc.
Given that a halachic state would enforce that, a woman would not be allowed to walk out in the street in any of the dress that I mentioned above. Do you believe that western society would agree to that? I believe that laws like that would cause a halchic state to be labeled Taliban like.

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger bluke said...

The specifics don't matter. My point is very simple. There is no question that halacha requires women to dress differently then what is accepted in general Western society. I hope that you would agree that the halacha forbids a women from walking around dressed like Britney Spears, or wearing a tanktop, mini-skirt, shorts, bikini, etc.
Given that a halachic state would enforce that, a woman would not be allowed to walk out in the street in any of the dress that I mentioned above. Do you believe that western society would agree to that? I believe that laws like that would cause a halchic state to be labeled Taliban like.

 

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