Monday, December 15, 2008

Sarah and Rivkah Imeinu Wore Human Hair Wigs Which Looked Better Than Their Own Hair

DreamingOfMoshiach has the latest autistic message, of why the tzaddikim were killed in India. Everybody thinks they know, and just conveniently, the reason falls wonderfully in line with their previous agenda.
  1. Some use it to reinforce the debunked rumor attributed to Rav Kanievsky about bomb-shelters by Chanukkah, or false predictions that Mashiach is coming this year, before President Gog Bush leaves office, by saying that the Zohar predicted this tragedy in Mumbai (by getting all the details of the attack wrong), right before a Mashiach ben Ephraim of the last day of Chanukkah.

  2. The Neturei Karta use it (see here and here) to criticize Chabad for
    opening their homes and allowing "mechalelai shabbes" and "ochlei treifos" to sit and eat with "shomrei shabbos" and "ochleo kosher".
    That along with the fact that Chabad works together with the Zionist entity.
  3. And naturally enough, the "autistics" (or rather the facilitators) use the tragedy to promote their own world-view and agenda.
Indeed, it is not surprising at all. The whole idea of these facilitated messages on high is that they take a personal tragedy, of a child being autistic, and claim that it is as a tikkun, and that the purpose is to deliver, via facilitated communication, messages from on high. So too, in the tragedy that occurred at Mumbai, they claim:
Why did such tzaddikim have to die? Because from the time of their birth they had a tikun [rectification] to do. That tikun was to bring a most important message to Am Yisrael. That message is: "Am Yisrael, do teshuva [repent]. Because if you don't, you will have to suffer terribly until you do - or else, chas veshalom, disappear from creation completely." That is the main message.
The message, of course, is the same message of the autistics themselves.

It is also interesting that they blame the attacks on the low spiritual level of Mumbai, and materialism, writing
Also, notice the place where all this happened. Mumbai, India, is a city centered around money [it is India's financial center]. It is a major city of the Olam Hazeh [materialism, the “golden calf”]: full of Western tourism, restaurants, fancy hotels, etc. Moreover, the essence of India is based on avodah zara and there is avodah zara in every corner. And along with that, Mumbai is also filled with the spiritual filth of the Western countries, gashmius [materialism] and many other things hated by Hakadosh Baruch Hu. That is why it was an appropriate place to pass on this message against the Golden Calf [materialism and the vanities of this world].
I find this interesting because it patterns what some who know India and Mumbai say was the motivations of the terrorists (see this NY Times article):
MY bleeding city. My poor great bleeding heart of a city. Why do they go after Mumbai? There’s something about this island-state that appalls religious extremists, Hindus and Muslims alike. Perhaps because Mumbai stands for lucre, profane dreams and an indiscriminate openness.

Mumbai is all about dhandha, or transaction. From the street food vendor squatting on a sidewalk, fiercely guarding his little business, to the tycoons and their dreams of acquiring Hollywood, this city understands money and has no guilt about the getting and spending of it. I once asked a Muslim man living in a shack without indoor plumbing what kept him in the city. “Mumbai is a golden songbird,” he said. It flies quick and sly, and you’ll have to work hard to catch it, but if you do, a fabulous fortune will open up for you. The executives who congregated in the Taj Mahal hotel were chasing this golden songbird. The terrorists want to kill the songbird.
By making God's message the same as the terrorists' message, they are essentially justifying the attacks, from a Divine perspective.

Another thing that annoyed me was how the autistics declare that some of the victims (the chareidim) were holier than others:
All the Jews that died there died al Kiddush Hashem [to sanctify Hashem's name] have the status of tzaddikim, yet those specific four stood out the most.
This is in sync with their general attitude, as seen in other such communications.

Part of this message of repentance is, of course, to not wear sheitels and that music needs a hechsher:
Women should dress like Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah [who certainly never wore wigs] and not like models from Paris [see more about this in message 35]. We should not bring into a Jewish home all sorts of written materials from the street or read books of the goyim. We should also not bring in books written by Jews who do not have real Torah hashkafos - even if they wear kippahs. And nowadays, even music needs a good hechsher.
See here about even music needing a good hechsher.

In terms of this message brought by Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg H"y"d, not to wear sheitels, it appears that as a frum Lubavitch woman, she did not receive that message herself. See picture to the right. I do not think that she would take too kindly to the use of her murder to promote an anti-sheitel agenda.

And as part of the general trend of the anti-sheitel crowd, it is interesting to note that a few posts earlier on the same blog, there was a blaming of all the terrible things happening to klal Yisrael on women wearing sheitels. This was accompanied by a collection of anti-sheitel statements from various prominent rabbonim which included:
Women that wear wigs do not have Yirat Shamayim - fear of heaven. The biggest problem is these women think it's allowed and they deny the Tzaddikim's cherem.
A woman that wears a wig is as if she does not cover her hair! Stupid women! How can a woman like you have fear of Heaven? A woman that wears a wig has no holiness.
So let me ask. Now that you want to take Rivka Holtzberg as an extremely holy tzaddik, in order to convey this message, would you say that she had no holiness? That she was a stupid woman who had no fear of Heaven? Chas veshalom!

But let us turn to this claim, purportedly made by the autistic Daniel, or perhaps in this particular case filled in by some editor -- after all, it is in square brackets.
Women should dress like Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah [who certainly never wore wigs].
I would guess that historically speaking, this is likely to be correct. But only because it is quite possible that they did not cover their hair for purposes of modesty back then in general. If and when there was any head covering in that hot climate, it was likely done as protection from the sun. But assuming we take literally, and historically, the midrashic assertion that the Avos and Imahos kept the Torah even before Matan Torah, then why assume that they did not wear wigs? Because you don't think wigs are muttar? There are others who disagree. And this is a retrojection of your own values and standards of modesty onto the Avos. (See this post on Oz Vehadar Levushah and Rachel covering herself with sheep, for more on this idea.)

For example, we know that Moshe Rabbenu was Satmar, and that he wore a plotche bibur, as the fellow in this video explains:

Or we have a proof that Yaakov wore a yarmulke. Because the pasuk says vayeitzei Yaakov. Would Yaakov have gone out without his yarmulke?!

Perhaps their proof that the Imahos wore tichels and not sheitels was from the pasuk
וַיָּבֹא יַעֲקֹב מִן-הַשָּׂדֶה, בָּעֶרֶב, וַתֵּצֵא לֵאָה לִקְרָאתוֹ וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלַי תָּבוֹא, כִּי שָׂכֹר שְׂכַרְתִּיךָ בְּדוּדָאֵי בְּנִי; וַיִּשְׁכַּב עִמָּהּ, בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא.
Would Leah have gone out without her tichel, or chas veshalom worse, with a sheitel?! Of course not!

(*Yes, I am aware of the irony of citing this pasuk given the midrashim interpretation of it.)

But I actually have proof positive that the Imahos did wear sheitels, and even realistic human hair sheitels which looked better than their own hair.

The proof is as follows. We know that the Avos and Imahos kept kol haTorah kulah. Which means that the Imahos must have kept the Das Moshe and Das Yehudis of a Jewish married woman covering her hair.

But on the other hand, we see that Avraham and Yitzchak continuously played a trick, passing their wives off as their unmarried sisters. As Avraham says:
וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר הִתְעוּ אֹתִי, אֱלֹהִים מִבֵּית אָבִי, וָאֹמַר לָהּ, זֶה חַסְדֵּךְ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשִׂי עִמָּדִי: אֶל כָּל-הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר נָבוֹא שָׁמָּה, אִמְרִי-לִי אָחִי הוּא.

How could Sarah or Rivkah pass for unmarried women? After all, unmarried women do not cover their hair, so their tichels would have been a dead giveaway.

The answer must be that they held like Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and the many poskim they in turn relied upon (Mishnah Brurah, Pri Megadim, Rama, etc.), who permitted sheitels, even sheitels made from hair, and even sheitels made from the woman's own hair. And they wore such sheitels, and Avimelech and Pharaoh thought that it was their own hair, and that they were beautiful and single.


Chaim said...

In those days even single girls covered their states the Rambam. Unfortunately I don't remember where in Mishna Torah this is stated. From this weeks parsha, we see that perhaps even prostitutes covered their hair,not w/ good wigs, how else would Tamar have kept her identity from Yehuda. Nice try though. On a separate note...why do I get the feeling, when I read your blog, that you don't want Moshiach to come any time soon, so you can prove many blogs wrong? Now I don't know you personally, but I'm sure you want Moshiach to come today like many other Yidden. I'm just saying that's the impression at least I get.

joshwaxman said...

I know all this. But who says we agree with the Rambam? We do not pasken that single girls must cover their hair, nowadays.

Tamar covered her face with a veil, not her hair with a wig, and on a peshat level, this was not while in the house with Yehuda, but only when they met at the crossroads.

I have read the autistics' words, and I think that they are an alternative religion, as well as spreaders of sinas chinam.

It is unfortunate that you get that impression (that I don't want) from reading the blog. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of mystically inclined blogs who are running about like lunatics, saying every day that the world is coming to an end, based on craziness and misinterpretation of sources. And I am opposing this trend.


joshwaxman said...

See also my comments on a previous post about this:

"also, I feel that there is a difference between hoping that mashiach will come every day, on the one hand, and being *convinced* that he is coming tomorrow, over and over and over. I do not believe that the Rambam, e.g., felt that it was compulsory to regard every war in turn as the war of Gog and Magog, or to interpret every news event as fulfillment of Biblical or Talmudic messianic predictions."


Lakewood Falling Down said...

The video is great, I've never seen it. Does this mean that Aharon was Lubavitch because he loved everyone and was a Rodef Shalom? Was Avrohom Breslov because he spread the word? Was Yitzchok a Zionist because he never went outside the land? The list goes on and on.

Chaim said...

Indeed, the Rambam paskins that single girls do not have to cover their hair, he just continues w/ a comment that he feels they still should but Mikar Hadin single girls are not obligated.
Tamar did wear a veil to cover her face, I just assumed that the veil covered her hair as well. That seems to have been the custom in those days, but neither you or I shall no for sure. To say that they definitely wore wigs better than there own hair, is in my opinion a real stretch..that is, it's not mashma from the pasukim.

As far as the blogs that try to find signs of Moshiach's imminent arrival...what's wrong with that? I wouldn't call them "lunatics", they're just trying to give and receive chizuk. I do agree with you wholeheartedly that those blogs that spread sinas chinum is very disturbing to say the least.
So if you have a problem with sinas chinum, as we all do and should, why do you link a certain blog from the Midwest with yours. It's a blog that almost entirely is devoted to degrading Chareidim and their way of life. It's like this guy has a real deep seated hatred for them. And his comment section...please, don't get me started. Its a warzone full of sinas chinum, not comments.
I could be very wrong(once again), but I feel that blogger really enjoys the Machlokes he creates. It's a real shame.

Hatzlocha, Chaim

joshwaxman said...

of course it is a stretch. It is a joke! I did not mean it seriously, but was just arguing from the perspective of those who would read in their own values into the Avos and Imahos, such that they assume that Avraham must have worn a streimel. It is similarly not mashma from the psukim that what Yehuda did with Tamar was kiddushin, but some meforshim try to claim that, and account for the problem that there are (apparently) no witnesses to the kiddushin.

(We can *possibly* figure out dress styles from ancient drawings, or from looking at dictated styles of dress in the code of hammurabi. Though not entirely -- the code of Hamurabbi prohibits a prostitute from veiling herself. In ancient Egypt, Egyptian men and women used to shave their heads and wear wigs. What the practice was in Charan and Mesopotamia in general might be another story.)

If certain people want to retroject their own cultural values and say that it is obvious that the Imahos did not and could not have worn sheitels, then I can reply in kind. And do so in a silly way, which is really no less silly than their own assertions.

In terms of the rest, I have a reason for disagreeing, but do not have the time to argue it right now. But al regel achat, think of Charlie Brown and the football, and some of the motivation for why (incorrectly) calculating the ketz is wrong.

Kol Tuv,

Chaim said...

Understood and agreed, to part 1.

I never stated that calculating the Ketz is productive, to the contrary, we know what is stated in Perek Chelek in regard to calculating such an event. I'm merely stating, that for the most part these blogs are really innocent and just try to offer some chizuk. Agreed, there are some that are extreme and misguided, but for the most part they do not traffic in sinas chinam.
Talking about sinas chinam...I'm curious as to your response to my recent comment of blogs that fill their pages w/ sinas chinam. Particularly one that you link to.

Nice chatting, Haatzlocha!

joshwaxman said...

I agree that most such mystical blogs do not traffic in sinas chinam. That was directed mostly towards the words of the autistics, whom I have followed closely. The types of things they say about certain Gedolim with whom they disagree, or about people who daven without wearing long jackets -- even had other persuasive metzius-factors not been present, the character of message was enough to convince me that it was not legit. Though unfortunately people think that this is "mussar" and a call for "teshuva."

As I stated above, I agree that most such mystical blogs do not traffic in sinas chinam. But what they do do, or some of them, at least, is

1) discard the critical skills typically used to analyze texts, in pursuit of their desired interpretation. this lowers the character of the debate. It is akin to how, on, they recently noted that the Rosh says that the bracha on Nerot Chanukka is NaNach. The Rosh indeed says that, but in context that is not what it means. And when they say it, it is silly. But there is a continuous misinterpretation of texts, by people who do not know how to interpret texts.

2) There is also a *shifting* of power, from the poskim and Jewish leaders who should be guiding us, to alternative mystical leadership. We follow Rabbonim, not fortunetellers with Ouija boards (who tell us to disregard the rabbonim); not dreamers (what is the wheat to the chaff!); not two fellows who make up their own troubling theology (*stumbling* into the idea of anti-Christ) which can go anywhere they want to take it because gematria and roshei Tevos can be used to prove whatever your heart desires, and who recently said to follow them and not the rabbonim.

3) These blogs are trying to offer chizuk by effectively calculating the Ketz. Not by performing calculations, but saying source X tells us (though it does not) that Mashiach will come by Rosh HaShanah; then, that it will come by Yom Kippur; by Succot; no? then by Chanukkah. Besides doing damage to the sources and the reputations of the sources, such repeated failures are demoralizing.

4) Some even offer dangerous or bad advice. Move to Israel, *because* the end is near. And what of the people who make aliyah, and have no means of support?

There is more. In terms of linkage, bli neder, I'll have to answer a bit later. I do have an answer.


joshwaxman said...

finally, in terms of HaEmtza. In *general*, a link on the sidebar does not constitute endorsement. Rather, it is a list of blogs that I follow and find interesting, and/or which others may find useful and interesting. Those who update more frequently and who might have something I want to check up on, I might hook into its feed instead. (I also have an RSS reader, but for certain other blogs.)

I don't know HaEmtza's motivations. He does, on more than one occasion, discuss some topic of interest to me. And while I often do not agree with his take on things (though sometimes I do), there is an active comment section of people discussing the topic. There are some blogs which are really forums, or in which the forum is a major part -- e.g. Hirhurim, DovBear, HaEmtza.

He also discusses instances in which people confuse sinas chinam with spirituality, or in the quest to be spiritually holy, become holier than thou and do not treat others appropriately. A case in point is the recent violence in Bet Shemesh.


Chaim said...

I don't mind a healthy debate on Hashkafa, indeed, it could be very helpful to many. But in my opinion, the "debate" crosses the line when one points out the flaws (to put it lightly in this case)of the other side. Rather shouldn't it be showing others the virtues of one's own derech? Without constantly slamming(again, putting it lightly)the other person's hashkafa, and in haemtza's case, more than usual generalizing to an extreme.
Really what bothers me more, is the open forum you mention. It's nothing more than a machlokes free for for all, certainly in haemtza's case.
I asked him once if he could tone down the comment section or eliminate it altogether in the interest of shalom, a rare commodity these days. I received no response. I could be wrong, but I think he gets pleasure out of creating this machlokes monster.

Thank you for your responses.

Hatzlochah Rabbah

Anonymous said...

In those days even single girls covered their states the Rambam.

Well that explains everything!

Avimelech and Pharaoh recognized the sheitels as sheitels. Having previously studied Rambam, they then concluded that Sarah and Rebecca might be either single or married. However, they realized that Abraham and Isaac, being great leaders and scholars, would have taken on additional restrictions for their wives and required them to wear both a sheitel AND a hat. Seeing only the sheitel, Abimelech and Pharaoh then realized (incorrectly) that they were single.

Note that Abimelech figures all this out when he sees Isaac was "playing" with Rebecca. (Gen 26:8.) What was he doing? Clearly, he was placing a second sheitel, a snood, a scarf, and two hats on her head, thereby satisfying even the strictest opinions. Once Abimelech saw this, and having read those opinions, he figured it all out, and the game was up.


Anonymous said...

Josh, your shtick'l torah are getting better and better!

this reminds me of the gemarah where it says; "Amar Rav, Sheishes Yimei Chanukah"...

yaak said...

I can prove that Avraham Avinu was a Sepharadi.
He has a grandfather named Nahor and a brother named Nahor, who was born before his grandfather passed away - what Ashkenazi would name his son the same name as his living father? Obviously Terah was Sepharadi, so Avraham was also Sepharadi. ודו"ק.


NaaNaach said...

Did anyone ever consider that the Chabad in India was spreading their Sheker that Mushiach has already arrived?

samantha ruth prabhu profile said...



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