May 5, 2009

What's good for the goose, is not good for the gander...

An interesting conundrum has come up within Shas.

A directive has come out from Shas for the educational system within Shas, that all teachers in the system must have their hair completely covered. Not unusual for a haredi educational system. It even seems like their should be no need for such a directive. (source: mynet)

The issue seems to be focused on women who wear sheitels. Rav Ovadia Yosef has always rejected the sheitel as an acceptable method of hair covering and requires either hats or tichels.

What makes this especially interesting is that among the wives of the various Shas ministers themselves many wear sheitels against the opinion of Rav Ovadiah Yosef. The picture to the left is one taken from a recent trip made by the wives' of Shas ministers to the separation fence. Almost all of them are wearing sheitels.

Additionally, last year, reported on an important Sfardic Rosh Yeshiva who called out the deriliction of the Shas ministers wives' for not adhering to Rav Ovadiah Yosef on this issue. They, of all people, are meant to set the example of listening strictly to the rulings of Rav Yosef.

So Shas leaders do not live by this rule in their own houses, but they are now trying to force other people to...

(NOTE: I could care less what they wear, and Shas leadership should have the right to set whatever standard they want in their school system just like any school administrator has the right to set standards for his or her school. I don't like hypocrisy though.)


  1. I don't like hypocrisy though
    perhaps their view of daat torah differs from other communities.
    Joel Rich

  2. Correction: these women are Shas activists (see the article here), not necessarily the wives of Shas MKs, or even Sfardi women. (They may be Ashkenazi but support Shas since they have at least 4-5 kids, and want the child allowances.)

    Also, I didn't read the article in ladaat, but it seems that they are confusing politics with religion. ROY may be the "spiritual leader" of the party, but that means that he influences policy. It doesn't mean, as far as I know, that he is the posek for every member of the party, or even for every MK.

  3. you are probably right that Rav Ovadiah might not be the personal posek for each of them.
    but then if he is only some general spiritual leader do they have a right to enforce his policy on these teachers? If he is not the posek, and if they do not enforce it, even though the same ruling seems to be in effect, on the female activists (female activists in Shas???) or wives of, or whatever you wish to call them, why enforce it on the teachers?

  4. The teachers are employed by the party, and the party may enforce a dress code on their staff during working hours, if the spiritual leader so advises.

    A trip, not organized by Shas, but which happens to be targeting women who work for Shas, is not a Shas activity, and thus is out of ROY's "scope of psak", unless he happens to be any of the womens' personal posek.

  5. I do not believe that Shas or any organization can set any standard they want in their private schools.

    The standards need to be within acceptable societal parameters, as well as theoretically non discriminatory.

    Can a school set a standard that women have to wear a Chador or they are fired?

    Can a school decide that they will not except Sefardi children?

    They cant just make their own rules

    I would argue that forcing women not to wear a sheital is an act that is not within societal norms, I dont care how charedi the school is.

  6. mrsrbs - legally they might not be able to (if it would go to court), just think about all the legal cases of people were discriminated against because they wore something specific or refused to. those cases were all on religious grounds I think, and if this would go to court, a woman would probably be able to argue that she is wearing it on religious grounds as well - unless she is supposed to accept Rav Ovadiah's psak as her religious grounds (if she is sfardic, or is known to be a loyal follower of his, etc.)

  7. welcome to the wonderful world of fake frumkeit. it's do as i say, not as I do.

  8. ALL teachers? So the men also have to have all their hair completely covered? Or are there only married female teachers employed by Shas?

  9. YONI:

    "The teachers are employed by the party"

    i know this is the way things work in israel, but i find this disturbing. poltical parties should not be that involved in running schools.

  10. LOZ - political parties should not be that involved in running schools.[space]

    What about the NYC school system? One of the biggest, perhaps the biggest, school system in the country.


  11. MARK:

    the nyc dept of ed. policies might reflect the directives of which ever party controls city council, the mayor, school boards, etc. happen to be in power at a given time, but it is not the uncontested branch of one political party.

  12. I'm against sheitels, but more against hypocrisy.

    I think the additional ruling about teachers may be another way for Rav Ovadiah to re-send the message to his own.

  13. Rav Ovadia also rules that Hallel *should* be said without a bracha on Yom Ha'atzmaut. (Yabia Omer 6:41)

    In his shul hallel is not recited.

    Please, please, figure that one out.

    I love this religion of convenience.


  14. DA- IIRC, Rav Ovadia says hallel should be recited [without a bracha] but not as part of davening - only after davening is completed.
    I have been told that Rav Ovadiah does so. I never bothered trying to confirm it, so i cannot be sure whether or not he actually says hallel after davening on his own.

  15. LoZ,

    Why direct your comment at me? I agree with you, and, moreover, I didn't set up the system!

    (I also think that it's more important for Jews to live in Israel than for schools to be dis-associated from political parties, but I won't go as far as to actually say it, so just forget I brought it up.)

  16. YONI:

    my comment was just a general observation sparked by something you wrote. i wasn't directing my comment to you. i put your name there only so it would be clear to others that i was reflecting on something written in a comment and not something from rafi's original post.


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