May 18, 2011

Interesting Psak From Rav Elyashiv: Screaming At Someone On The Mehadrin Bus

This article is just so ridiculous and degrading that I am going to copy the full article, in Hebrew, here, because I am sure it will be taken down very soon. The full Hebrew text of the article can be found at the end of the post.

Kikar has the story of an avreich who went to Rav Elyashiv and described to him a situation that he had recently been involved in. He had been travelling on a mehadrin bus there was a woman who sat herself down in the front section of the bus, against the rules of the mehadrin arrangement.

He says he approached her and politely asked her to move to the back and respect the desires of the other passengers. She refused to move.

Thinking he was fighting the holy fight, he got very rude, started screaming at her in front of the whole bus full of passengers, said very rude and demeaning things.

Now he wants to know, after a few days of reflection, if he behaved properly or if he should apologize to her for his behavior.

The Psak
Rav Elyashiv supposedly answered that he has no reason to apologize, as she was wrong and she should have moved to the back and not disrupted the mehadrin arrangement.

The avreich persisted and suggested that perhaps she was handicapped and was unable to move to the back despite being screamed at, and maybe he does need to apologize?

Rav Elyashiv, again supposedly, responded that he has no need to apologize as he acted properly.

The Proof
Rav Elyashiv proved his words quoting from the story in the gemara of the amora (article says it was Shmuel but I don't think so) who encountered a woman in the street who was dressed immodestly and he ripped it off her. He is praised even though in the end it was discovered the woman was not even Jewish. Rav Elyashiv said from that we learn that one can shame someone who goes against "Dat Yehudit" in the matters of tzniyus.

I don't know why a woman sitting n the front of the bus is equal to a woman wearing immodest clothing...

And here is the full Hebrew text of the article, in case it should be taken down:
קווי המהדרין בתחבורה הציבורית עוררו לא אחת סערה ציבורית גדולה. ארגוני שמאל טענו כי הקווים הללו מפלים נשים, כשלעתים נגרמו ביזיונות לנשים ישבו בחלקו הקדמי של האוטובוס, בניגוד למקובל.

בשל כך הורה בג"ץ למשרד התחבורה להקים וועדה מיוחדת שתכריע בנושא. הוועדה שקלה את כלל ההיבטים והחליטה להתיר את הפרדת המהדרין אך ללא אפשרות לכפות זאת על הנוסעים.

פסק חדש של מרן הגרי"ש אלישיב, נותן לכאורה לגיטימציה לביזוי נשים אשר הפרו את הפרדת המהדרין בכוונה תחילה ולא נענו לבקשות לעבור לחלקו האחורי של האוטובוס.

אברך חרדי הגיע אל הגרי"ש ובפיו שאלה. הוא סיפר לגרי"ש כי באחד הימים, עת נסע באוטובוס בו הונהג הסדר המהדרין, הייתה אישה שהתיישבה בכוונה תחילה בחלקו הקדמי של האוטובוס.

"ניגשתי אליה וביקשתי שתכבד את רגשות הנוסעים ותעבור ממקומה אל החלק שיועד לנשים אך היא סרבה", סיפר האברך.

ב"עזות דקדושה", לפחות מזווית הראייה של האברך, הוא פתח כלפיה בצעקות רמות, תוך שהוא מבזה אותה לעיני כל הנוסעים, ומשתמש בביטויים קשים נגדה.

כמה ימים אחר-כך, האברך תהה בינו לבין עצמו האם עשה נכון. הוא חש צער על הפגיעה באישה, ופנה לגרי"ש בשאלה: "האם אני צריך לבקש ממנה סליחה?".

הגרי"ש שמע את פרטי הסיפור והשיב לאברך כי אינו צריך לבקש ממנה סליחה, מאחר והאישה היתה צריכה לעבור לחלק שיועד לנשים ולא להתעקש להפר את הסדר המהדרין.

האברך הוסיף ושאל: "אולי היא הייתה אישה נכה, ולכן היא לא עברה ממקומה למרות הבקשות והצעקות, ואני כן צריך לבקש ממנה סליחה על הביזיונות שעשיתי לה?", אך הגרי"ש ביטל את דבריו, ושב ואמר כי אינו צריך לבקש את סליחתה, "נהגת כדין", הבהיר הגרי"ש לאברך.

בכדי לסבר את אוזנו של האברך, ציטט הגרי"ש אלישיב מעשה מהגמרא על שמואל שהלך בשוק, וראה אישה בבגד לא צנוע וקרע אותו מעליה, ולבסוף התברר כי מדובר בגויה. "מכאן אתה למד", הוסיף הגרי"ש אלישיב, "שמותר לבזות מי שעובר על הדת היהודית בענייני צניעות".


  1. "I don't know why a woman sitting n the front of the bus is equal to a woman wearing immodest clothing..."
    It seems that just being a woman publicly is immodest these days.

  2. in the us there are those who say dwb (driving while black vs dwi -intoxicated) is a crime.

    תלמוד בבלי מסכת ברכות דף כ עמוד א

    כי הא דרב אדא בר אהבה חזייה לההיא כותית דהות לבישא כרבלתא בשוקא, סבר דבת ישראל היא, קם קרעיה מינה; אגלאי מילתא דכותית היא, שיימוה בארבע מאה זוזי. אמר לה: מה שמך? אמרה ליה: מתון. אמר לה: מתון מתון ארבע מאה זוזי שויא.

    joel rich

  3. I guess das yehudis IS sitting in the back of the bus!

    I agree it is getting more perplexing with every incident. But did you read about the Saudi woman who went against the saudi govt edict and started driving? And the Syrian women who are fleeing Syrian oppression? Women are waking up slowly.

    I am tsnius, and have respect for Torah and Torah scholars, but common sense seems to be inverted. Why a man should rip the clothing off a woman, any woman, is beyond ....???

  4. Unless you have a video of Rav Elyashiv actually saying these words, you are just repeating a story that was told to someone...

    I don't think it should be repeated, as there is no proof that it is true.

  5. He said, She said and truthMay 18, 2011 1:55 PM


    The problem is that these stories continue to come out and become more bizarre as they do.

    There is a famous story regarding the Chofetz Chaim who had been asked to swear on testimony he was giving in court. He refused to swear. As it is told the lawyer for the other side was willing to accept his testimony and tried to convince the judge with an anecdote about the Chofetz Chaim's tzidkis.

    After hearing the almost incredulous story the judge asked the lawyer" do you really believe that story?"
    The lawyer answered "no, your honor, but they don't tell such stories about you and me!"

    I would like to paraphrase.."no I don't believe that Rav Elyashiv said that but they don't quote stuff like this in just anyone's name".

    Bottom is high time that the gedolim take control of their askanim and not vice versa.

  6. where's that LIKE button for Risa's comment (or should it be the LIKE baby?)

  7. I am disturbed by these words. So it isn't enough to downgrade women, but we can publicly embarrass someone for something as silly as sitting in the wrong part of the bus. This is why the haredi community has lost itself.

    I also agree with the one who said the gedolim need to reign in the askanim. However, askanim keep these gedolim in their positions through monetary support, etc. So in the end there is a paradox. I really hope this psak was apocryphal.

  8. I agree with RW. there have been a slew of RE "interesting rulings" over the last few days, most of them bizarre. i have my doubts.

  9. Interesting, yet R' SZ Aurbach gor off the bus rather than embarass someone. so there! my story negates your story and we're back to square one.

    Actually, I went to a rov who said it's ok to beat someone up because I don't like them and the issur of "chavalh" doesn't apply if I don't like them, because |I am being mekayim the mitzvah of "lo sisnah es achichah bilvavecha".

    That is a joke peeps. my point is it's a third party story. Who can prove or disprove what was said? just b/c he says he got a psak means that he's tellung the truth?

  10. I do not believe the story at all. It is a lie - despite the 'proof' from the Gemarah!

  11. as an aside, though it is probably not true, let's say for a moment that it is true. is it possible that such a ruling is only in effect because she was breaking the mehadrin arrangement. On that specific bus it is ok because the "majority" arranged an arrangement they consider tzanua, and now this woman is doing something not tzanua by breaking the arrangement. Whereas maybe even according to Rav Elyashiv it would not be ok to act that way to a woman on a regular bus and it would not be considered immodest to sit there?

  12. I also find this rather hard to believe. It is rather interesting that some anonymous guy claims that Rav Eliyashiv mattirs his bad behavior but there is absolutely no proof that this assertion is correct.

  13. Americanishe BubbieMay 18, 2011 8:44 PM

    Have a look at this:

    where you can see that there are still some normal chareidim.

    Now try going & interviewing all the listed Rabbonim, & please videotape, and ask them the question here. Personally, I choose not to believe the Yungerman. If he could go yell at a lady (even if he questioned himself afterwards & thought maybe he should apologize) why would I think he's the kind of person I would believe without any documentation?

  14. The stroy with Rav Elyashev's ruling is true. The details though have been greatly embellished. The person on the bus did not yell "rude and demeaning things at her". He did though loudly talk to her.

  15. so hashem is ok with "mutav sheyihiyu shoggigim v'all tihiyu maizidim" but R" Elyashiv isn't.

    sorry, the story sounds like BS to me. Did RE give this man permission to publicize the psak, knowing full well how people will take to be that screaming and insults are allowed now?

  16. Rafi you are fanning the flames of hatred against the Gedolim and haredim in general when you post a story like this, particularly when you say yourself you don't know if it's true.

    I have my issues with the Gedolim's edicts of the last few years, and I agree with He Said She Said that some of them have been hijacked by their askanim. Maybe some should step down from paskening since their closest sources of information are betraying them.

    But I cannot accept this one. The yungerman who second-guessed his own menshlichkeit had to go to RE to ask? Does he have a brain of his own, or does he also ask RE what brand of toothpaste he should buy?

  17. wanna - I consider that a non-issue, considering it was on a public news site which gets a far wider readership than I do. My contribution to this is insignificant.

    As well, I think there is value in my referencing the story and saying that it cannot be true.

  18. I've always thought that story in the Gemara was a hoot. If the Amora in question really wanted the woman to be modest, how is wearing no garment more modest than wearing an immodest garment? Perhaps he just wanted to see what sort of underwear she was wearing but tried to disguise it as outrage at immodesty. *L*

    I strongly suspect the Amora's modern followers also simply disguise their desire to be rude, obnoxious bullies as the 'holy fight' for modesty.

  19. @Harry Marylis - you cannot be anymore certain that this is true than it being true.

    If it's not true, how come every story with R Elyashiv is crazy, and every story with R Shteinman seems normal? I'm not saying its a rule, but doesnt it at least tell you what kind of men they are, and how they differ.

    So even if he didnt say it, it would appear that he's the type to say it.

  20. To not impressed,

    It was a non tzanua coat that he ripped off, not her dress.

  21. there are different opinions as to what happened. a scarf, a coat, the issue was shaatnez and not immodesty...

  22. A) Consider the theory that those who hate others envy what "the others" have. Non-haredim are not obsessed with sex, nor are non-haredi commuities, schools and batei kneset troubled by pedophiles. It is the polar opposite in the haredi woeld: sex & violence go hand in hand there. Sexual behavior/misbehavior/nonbehavior dominates their mindset and social interactions. That situation bespeaks volumes of necessary psychotherapy and an obscene misapplication of halacha.

    B) Dina d'malchutcha dina. Israel has a national law that the seats immediately behind bus drivers are RESERVED ONLY for certifiably, and visibly disabled people. Forcing disabled women to vacate the seats because sex-obsessed haredim say so is disgusting, obscene, illegal, cruel and against the halacha of dina d'malchutcha dina. Sex-obsessed haredim need to stop pinching the breasts, buttocks and crotches of women who occupy front seats for any reason.

    Haredim deny that the state exists, that disabled women matter to anybody let alone to halacha, and pursue sexual contact in order to harass the women and to get their rocks off for the day.

    C) That sexual touching illustrates the effects of haredi extremism. The perverts are acting out their impulses b'shem H. Sick, eh?

    Raf, you know who wrote this and why I decline to use my real name here.

  23. your comment is too general, anon. it should say those haredim who are sex-obsessed. not all are. most haredim, whatever their political beliefs, are good citizens of the state, trying to make an honest living, looking to live their lives without being bothered and not interested in bothering others.
    There are some who are crazed and obsessed in this way.

  24. What about V'ahavta l'rayakha k'mokha? The essence of the mitzva is OBJECTIVITY. Screamfests, accusations and efforts to create public humiliation are not objective, not in the spirit of chesed nor the ennobling purpose of mitzvot. I doubt that the rav paskened the way we're being told he did.

    Forcing someone to "observe" a religious precept your way is NOT cooperation. It is coercion. And WOW it shows lack of self-respect, let alone self-love.

    None of the tzadikim engaged in violence or public humiliation of anyone unless HaShem commanded them to go to war. Tzadikim negotiated, compromised, conversed.

    The evil perps in haredi levush give a bad name to genuinely good, kodesh Jews in the haredi world.

  25. I don't know what the true version of what the Rav said is, but I cannot believe the version given here.
    This story decreases the kavod to our gedolim.
    Please Rav Rafi you have such a nice blog, use it only to increase the Kavod of Torah and to make a Kidush HaSh-m.


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