Friday, June 13, 2008

Chai Rotel Mashkeh: Considering Women To Be Human!

Someone saved me this pamphlet from a Chai Rotel Mashke organization. These organizations provide liquid to thirsty people in Meiron on Lag BaOmer, as they visit the kever of Rashbi. Someone a while back declared it a segulah to provide 18 rottel (a liquid measure) to people at this event, and several organizations were set up on the basis of this segulah (though see here).

This particular pamphlet is quite entertaining. Click on the images in order to read them. (I now see that it is also available at their website, here.) Besides the segulah stories, this organization was describing what they did over-and-above other Chai Rottel organizations, presumably so that you would donate to them.

To quote (see image, right column):
"Lag Beomer '07 was the first time in history that women were also considered human. It was the very first time that they received cold water just like the men. Walking up the hill to the gravesite in this hot weather without any anything tocume [sic] drink absolutely endangers to be dehydrated. Therefore, R' Chaim Leib rented off some space right across 'Halpern's Hotel' and the women did not stop blessing him for this major breakthrough."

This way of over-the-top speaking is common through the pamphlet. Still, it is a very good thing that women do not dehydrate, and it is good that this organization is stepping in to fill the gap.

Why were women not "human" before '07? As far as I can make out, it is as follows: It seems that there are two paths to get to the kever. One of this is the "Mehadrin" path, for men only. And it is on this path that all the organizations typically distribute drinks.

Still, the extent of women's humanity is that they merit to receive cold water. They do not get coffee, or American coffee, since that is only distributed on the Mehadrin path. To cite (same image, left column):
"It is well known that on Lag Beomer there are thousands of foreigners visiting the gravesite, especially Americans. The majority of the Americans had a problem with the taste of the Isreali coffee which they weren't used to. So in 2007, R' Chaim Leib notified everybody that here will be American coffee available. Everybody that took route on the "Kvish Hamhadrin" (path for men only) was astonished to see their dream coming true. The Americans in particular, couldn't believe their eyes. They thought they'd visited a five star hotel. Right at the entrance there were six faucets with Boiled water, coffee, sugar, milk, hot cups and even covers!"
Wow! Even covers! If only the rating of hotels went up to six stars!

Heh. They have no hasaga of what a five-star-hotel is.

The segulah aspect of it helped as well in allowing distribution to women. See this picture:

In general, I am not so much in favor of the idea of going to Meiron for Lag BaOmer, or of all the segulah-ism that is associated with it and with chai rottel. Still, while I know nothing about the internal workings of this organization, it looks like they make use of donations to perform gemilus chassadim, which is worthy in and of itself.

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