Sunday, July 3, 2011

No. Way. Update

The Jewish Week published letters in response to the Orthodox Shabbos texting issue, and two were very informative. 

One, written by professors at YU, showed that the statistics used in the article was based on a very small sample, 17 teenagers. Another poll was done with 1,200 individuals, and while there were professed texters, the percentage was not half, but rather approximately 17%. While the amount of Shabbos violators (in web surfing, for instance, as well) is not as high as originally reported, it is still a disturbing rate.

Another letter highlighted a point I did not pick up on in the original article. For some reason, the author of the article compares texting on Shabbos to not wearing a yarmulka or women not covering hair, claiming they are somehow the same in halachic violation. 

Now of course, those examples are not remotely comparable to the issue at hand. For a man to be bareheaded at work or in public is not against halacha, as the letter-writer says. 

As for women not covering their hair, that is more of a gray issue - the Shulchan Aruch says that girls the age of 12 and over should cover their hair. Obviously, due to cultural norms, no matter what sect of Judaism one identifies with, no Jewish teenage girls cover their hair, so technically we are all in violation of halacha. 

There is no statement in the Torah about women being required to cover hair, and according to what I could read up on it was a matter of halachic debate so there is no established bottom line. For a married woman not to cover her hair, I think it is safe to say, is not a violation of halacha along the lines of desecrating Shabbos.

8 comments:

The Professor said...

Re. hair covering, its not as simple as you make it sound. Re. single girls, the halacha is quite clear that they neednt bother cover their hair. When davening however, there is a machlokes between ashkenazik and sefardi poskim as to whether they should cover their hair or not. The sefardim maintain that they should, and the ashkenazim say that the custom has non jewish origins, and not to cover the hair.

Re married women, I just dont think a statement can be made that it "is not a violation of halacha along the lines of desecrating Shabbos". Shulchan aruch is quite clear -saar bieisha erva - to the point that a man cannot daven next to a married women whose hair is uncovered. So, if a man sees a married womens hair, and has hirhurim as a result, it is 'avizrayhu dieishes ish', which unlike being mechalel shabbos, is something for which a person is 'yaharog vial yaavor'.

Princess Lea said...

I repeat, the Shulchan Aruch says girls over bas mitzvah should cover their hair. The Shulchan Aruch was quite clear on that as well. Now it is not so.

A man davening is specifically stated; not when on the street. Of course it is not so simple, but are you saying that using electrical devices on Shabbos and uncovered hair is equal in halachic violation?

The Professor said...

Do you mind sharing where in shulchan aruch it says that? I did some looking, and the closest thing I found to that was the Magen Avrohom on Ayin Hey where he says that it is a tznius thing to do, but not required.

I am simply saying that i dont think it can be said that its "not on the lines of desecrating shabbos". Neither of them are the Av. And, when comparing both of their Avos, its tznius which would be more important.

Princess Lea said...

As for the specific source, it was my father who told me, so I'll have to get back to you. Being a girl has its disadvantages in terms of learning.

Where is "being tznius" a mitzvah in the Torah? Whereas, where is "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy"?

Last I checked, it was "Shomer Shabbos" that identified someone as being a frum Jew. Not "Shomer Hair."

The Professor said...

The idea of tznius which i am speaking about is it being the concept of Avizrayhu digilui aroyos.

Princess Lea said...

In all my years of BY attendance, I have never heard of tznius being connected to giloi arayos. And they threw practically everything and anything to keep us on their straight and narrow.

Before this debate continues, I believe this a matter for our personal rabbis. I have a feeling mine will not say that hair covering is more important than Shabbos. Yours, however, may feel differently.

The Professor said...

Haha. No, my rabbi would actually not agree that hair covering is more important than shabbos. I doubt any would.

The reasoning I was using, is actually something I have seen mentioned in various Shu"tim before. For example, one of the reasons given why married women shouldnt wear strong smelling perfume, is that if a man smells it and has hanoah, it is avizrayhu dieishes ish (which is giluy aroyos). The same reasoning can be used here. If a man sees a married ladies hair (which is considered ervah) and has hirhurim, it is again avizrayhu dieishes ish.

I realize this may make me sound like a fanatic or something, and just wanna say thats not the case. My point was simply that statements comparing two things, or saying one thing is more stringent than the next, is not something to be said 'lightly'.

Princess Lea said...

Of course it should not be said lightly, although it seems on this case we agree.