Monday, February 18, 2008

How Rabbanit Keren Is Untzniusdik

She dresses like a tent. We might say she is trying to emulate Sarah Imeinu, for we read in parshas Vayera,
ט וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו, אַיֵּה שָׂרָה אִשְׁתֶּךָ; וַיֹּאמֶר, הִנֵּה בָאֹהֶל 9 And they said unto him: 'Where is Sarah thy wife?' And he said: 'Behold, in the tent.'
upon which Rashi cites Bava Metziah 87a and midrash Tehillim that this means that she was modest. And if this is meritorious here, then certainly it is obligatory everywhere for women to go about in tents. And so she dresses like a tent, wherever she goes, and her followers follow her lead. (Yes, I am making this extension to this derasha up, but they make plenty of other things up, so why not?)

What she apparently doesn't realize is that Sarah just happened to be in the tent, but dressing like a tent is untzniusdik. After all, we learn that various things are erva from pesukim in Shir haShirim. Thus, on Berachos 24a, we have:
אמר רב ששת שער באשה ערוה שנא' (שיר השירים ד) שערך כעדר העזים
R. Shesheth said: A woman's hair is a sexual incitement, as it says, Thy hair is as a flock of goats.
א הִנָּךְ יָפָה רַעְיָתִי, הִנָּךְ יָפָה--עֵינַיִךְ יוֹנִים, מִבַּעַד לְצַמָּתֵךְ; שַׂעְרֵךְ כְּעֵדֶר הָעִזִּים, שֶׁגָּלְשׁוּ מֵהַר גִּלְעָד. 1 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves behind thy veil; thy hair is as a flock of goats, that trail down from mount Gilead.
And there is a pasuk towards the very beginning of Shir haShirim:
ה שְׁחוֹרָה אֲנִי וְנָאוָה, בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם; כְּאָהֳלֵי קֵדָר, כִּירִיעוֹת שְׁלֹמֹה. 5 'I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
If all a woman's skin is erva, and her skin is considered beautiful only by comparison with the tents of Kedar, then certainly the tents of Kedar themselves are attractive. And yet, Rabbanit Keren dresses up as a tent, in order to attract the lustful eyes of men everywhere! How is moshiach going to come, when she acts like this?!


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