Jun 15, 2011

Interesting Psak: Drawing Blood To Cover Up

An interesting question was presented to Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein, rav of Ramat Elchonon of Bnei Braq and son-in-law of Rav Elyashiv.

The coordinator of a midrasha asked Rav Zilbershtein regarding a student who is becoming more religious. She wants to begin dressing more modestly, but is unable to due to increasing pressure from her parents who are not religious. She, as she became more religious, got accepted to the religious school, and altered her dress appropriately. her parents are rejecting it, and insist she return to dressing as she did before, as a secular Jew.

The coordinator than asked, the girl had come up with the idea that she should injure herself in her leg (I assume she means she should cause unsightly gashes), and therefore she would be able to tell her parents that she must wear skirts in order to cover up the injuries. The question is, is that a solution - would she be allowed to injure herself like that for this purpose?

I am not really sure how such a plan helps, as she would be able to avoid, for a while, until the injuries would heal, wearing shorts, but she could just as easily wear pants to cover the injuries as she could wear skirts, and her parents might insist on that.

Rav Zilbershtein responded that yes, she could injure herslef with the objective of being able to dress modestly. He praised her for her dedication and for her very difficult decision and transition, and said that the blood from her injuries would be a source of kapara for the nation of Israel, just like the blood of the korban olah and chatas.. (source: Mynet)

27 comments:

  1. Sounds like a horribly wrong psak to me. For a bunch of reasons, not least of which that it isn't psychologically healthy to injure oneself. Halachically, what if one of her parents suddenly dies? People may come to think that cutting oneself is permitted by the Rav when a loved one dies (which is an issur deoreita IIRC). And there is the issue of venishmartem, another deoreita, as cutting can lead to infection and grave damage to ones physical health (along with the psychological health problems mentioned above).

    Frankly if this Rabbi actually said this, I think he is nuts, and his semicha should be revoked.

    Furthermore, any community that believes in any of this kind of stuff has strayed far from Judaism and are on the road of leaving klal Yisrael.

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  2. This is really going a little too far. And why does she need to "prove" herself to her parents?

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  3. Seriously, advocating self-mutilation? What's next, immolation? I've ceased believing all these crazy psak reports, considering they obviously come from deranged people advocating a twisted and morbid worldview and not from the rabbonim whose psakim they pretend to publicize.
    Just as I don't believe the last Kaniewsky miracle story about the girl wanting to marry an Arab. Seriously, you think a girl frum enough to go to RK would consider marrying a non-Jew, when usually this crowd wouldn't even intermarry with someone who is national-religious? And that she would have the chutzpa to ask for a bracha? And that she would ignore maybe the most observed issur de-Oraita (even the most anti-religious Jew usually objects to intermarriage) but would then be moved by a remez in Tehilim?
    Frankly, either it is I who am completely disconnected from the Israeli reality, or it is the Israeli chareidi society that's becoming delirious day after day, or it's just a small group of meshigene who want to shape the chareidi outlook into something dystopian by spreading such outlandish stories and giving them a mehadrin hechsher. Either way, it's a sad state of things.
    Sorry for the rant...

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  4. Time to call Magen....

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  5. Chanokh - maybe it's just a way to sell papers without printing gossip?

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  6. mother - what do you mean by needing to prove herself?

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  7. Another article that is a bit much. Let the good rabbi put these piskei halacha in writing, upload them and then we can discuss their worth.

    i have a different idea - why doesn' the good rabbi go to the school, explain the situation and see if some arrangement can be made (allow long loose pants, bulky shirts)?

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  8. I hope it's just a way of selling papers, but in what way is it different from printing gossip? These rumormongers make up stories where gdolei haTorah are portrayed as vicious monsters advocating thing the worst antisemite would not even dream of (come on, advocating bloodletting for ritual purposes!), and they present it as something praiseworthy and to be imitated? This is motzi shem ra and chillul Hashem, as well as a way to shape the readership's worldview into something utterly disgusting.

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  9. while he should have perhaps put her in her place and told her not to cut herself, to be fair at least this time it came from the girl and nto from the rav. It is not like he told her to do this.
    Though she is a BT and should be told cutting oneself is inappropriate.

    At best it might be considered kannoim pogim bo (if she was zealous and would do so, we could support her with hindsight,but she should not ask for the allowance), or thats the halacha but we dont teach it (so not to be misconstrued)

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  10. Raf, I have come to conclusion that you must be working on writing a book of fiction and you're introducing it, story by story on your blog. Just tell us when the book release is so I can tell the Gedolim to get their letters and posters about you ready.

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  11. LOL. some people have successfully turned their blogs into books, and I have looked into the idea in the past but found such a wide range of topics, I could not figure out how to make such a book coherent. Maybe I will just focus on the compilation of "interesting psaks"...

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  12. @Chanokh,
    A woman that was a victim of arab/ jewish marriage and now helps woman in that situation came and spoke at my daughter's ulpana. She told the girls that it is most often Haraidim that marry Arab men.....

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  13. an organization recently ran a campaign against YESh for employing Arabs as often in bnei braq, supposedly, haredi women (young I assume) are seen chatting it up with them...

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  14. why doesn't he just tell the girl to move out? If she wants so much to be moser nefesh, then leave her parents house, grow up, and start her own life. It can't be just tzniyut is a problem at home. what about kosher? and shabbos?

    This story sounds off.

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  15. we dont know how old she is.. if she was 18-19 that would be a solution. maybe she is 14-15...

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  16. All the worse for his psak. He is telling a legal minor to cut herself up in the interests of tzniut??!!

    What a warped set of values these supposedly "great" rabbonim have.

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  17. 1. If she's in a midrasha she must be post high school, no? Maybe they have after-school midrashas.
    2. What are her parents going to do to her if she starts wearing skirts? Kick her out on the street? He should give her support for opposing her parents. They'll get over it. (That was the answer to Rafi--she doesn't need to invent a reason to wear skirts.)
    3. I didn't believe the one about the girl marrying the Arab either. But I won't be at all surprised if this turns out to be true. Tzniut has no "shiur," right?

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  18. Warped. Seriously. What if she cut an artery in the process and bled out? This is encouraging certifiable DSM-IV behaviour. The parents should sue him.

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  19. What do you want from a society that tells people not to go the police with abuse allegations?

    What do you expect from people who would rather their children marry secular (or maybe even arabs) than "G-d forbid" Dati Leumi?

    Sick people lading a sick society.

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  20. While I imagine that the purpose of this story is to be m'chazek the yidden, the unintended consequence will be that it becomes the basis for new blood libels.

    I do not believe anything said "in the name of" any rav anymore, unless I can see it in writing.

    This story is (hopefully - otherwise this rav needs to be questioned by the police) just another in the long line of m'chazek/miracle stories coming from the Haredi community as a whole, which make me wonder WHY do these people need to hear these stories on a regular basis? Is their emunah so brittle that they need to hear these stories all the time?

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  21. "I do not believe anything said "in the name of" any rav anymore, unless I can see it in writing."

    If this is truly the case then the time has come for these gedolim to retire, get some "schar bhai alma" and hand over leadership to those rabbonim who are still in control of what is said in their name.

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  22. Mother, you are doing a disservice to the Jews by writing posts like this. You get people to speak about a bit Rabbi. Second of all, who knows if this story is even true. Third, even if it is, who is it for us little people to come off like big gedolim and argue against him. Your running a gossip column as far as I'm concerned. With all the beautiful Torah things you can be speaking about this is what you choose? Yeah, you get readers and comments but at who's expense? I'm not sure if you're religious or not but if you are you should refrain of writing these posts or be willing to go personally apologize to the rabbi for causing people to speak badly about him.

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  23. Anonymous, how could you insult the rabbi by calling him "a bit rabbi"?
    Anyway, I am flattered that you think I write this blog but the credit goes to Rafi G.

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  24. Who cares who wrote it. Why are you spreading it. If the word Rabbi...was not in this post the first thing that people would be screaming is "Fake!" This story is obviously fake. The only reason people are quick to believe it is because there is no love lost for the chareidim. This is an anti chareidi piece and you are helping spread the hate against them. That is just wrong.

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  25. Does any source for this exist? I, and anyone reasonable should, refuse to accept this post as anything more than unbridled posting until someone brings some source the story...

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  26. Maybe it will turn out to be as inaccurate as the dog-stoning story.

    However... the problem is that there is a large community of people who lap up these stories and even if not emulate, adulate warped people who need psychiatric help rather than getting them help.

    Bad publicity for the rabonim who persist this craziness may help increase public awareness and may help stop it (though I am in doubt as the kind of people who go for this stuff won't value any criticism of their gedoylim). However labeling this article as "interesting psak" only gives credence to psak. I would have expected a heading more like "outrageous psak" - more inline with your public support of Magen.

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  27. I considered it, actually (not "outrageous" but somethign else). I decided to stick with "interesting psak" because it is a title I use for a whole series, making it easily searchable and "findable". I decided to stick with that.
    And anyway, it is interesting, even though it is outrageous (or because it is outrageous)

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