23 November 2011

"Shawl Women"

27 Cheshvan 5772

In a message dated 8 Elul 5771, one of the autistic boys said:

"...you will see many women who will decide to sacrifice themselves for the sake of Heaven and will begin to dress themselves in much modesty. And this will annoy the Mitnagdim (those who oppose them). And then, there will be the BIG war."

Already, a week later , on 16 Elul 5771, this article appeared on Ynet:

Haredim launch war on 'Taliban women'

An internal haredi battle is taking place these days against "Taliban women", a radical sect of women wearing cloaks and observing strict modesty rules.

Ads posted in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh are announcing the establishment of a special committee against the sect's members.

"Help help, Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh are crying out," says the poster, referring to the "Taliban women" as "a new sect of cruel women making people miserable and destroying homes, risking lives and showing no mercy to little children."

Yeshiva World News has continued to report on it:

Eida Combating In House Fanaticism – AKA Taliban

‘Taliban Woman’ Causes Terror Alert In Yerushalayim

Today, they've printed the most intelligent and compassionate treatment of the issue to date:

HaRav Yitzchak Ratzabi Regarding ‘Taliban Women’

HaRav Yitzchak Ratzabi Shlita in a recent shiur addressed the ongoing controversy surrounding women who dress similar to Arab women, known in Israel as Taliban Women or Shawl Women. The rav is a prominent Torah figure in the Yemenite community in Eretz Yisrael.

The rav feels that the opposition is incorrect and the women wishing to take on additional stringencies regarding tznius should be praised, not admonished. The rav ponders how rabbonim, talmidei chachamim in Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak can be waging war against the trend, which he views in a positive light.

...While the rabbis may not be capable of instructing women to do this, but now, there are those who have decided to take this upon themselves and they are not honored or respected, but ridiculed. They call them names in the street; ‘Arabs, Taliban, Palestinians’. They are shamed and disgraced and they are embarrassed but they continue with mesirus nefesh, L’Shem Shomayim, and the matter must be probed”.

In response to questions, the rav explains why the rabbonim oppose this. He stated the rabbis feel this is not the way, that they attract more stares this way than dressing as others do, and some rabbonim feel such apparel is a chilul Hashem since the non-frum look at them and speak of how the chareidim dress. The rabbi explained his words refer to shawls and scarves, emphasizing regarding a veil, “there is nothing to talk about”.

The rav also stated there is another “very serious” matter, that the same rabbonim who publically came out against the shawls are not speaking out against the wigs. “If they were speaking out against permissiveness and immorality, and also spoke out about this (wigs), I would say their actions are L’Shem Shomayim, but it appears the evil inclination has grabbed them. The yetzer hora at times targets righteous people.”