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Dec 21, 2008

Chumra of the Month - a losing submission

A recent incident in Yerushalayim has made bids for winning the Chumra of the Month award. In my opinion it comes up short, and will not be declared COTM.

A store in the Haredi neighborhood of Jerusalem, Ramot 04, has declared itself, upon the urging of the local neighborhood rav who is affiliated with the Eida Hareidis and Vizhnitz (not sure how exactly that combo works out in one person) Rav Mendel Fuchs, a mehadrin store.

Mehadrin does not necessarily limit itself in meaning to the limitation of carrying only products bearing a mehadrin kashrut certification. They are mehadrin because they have instituted separate checkout lanes for men and for women.

In addition, Rav Fuchs encourages people to do the bulk of their shopping early in the week rather than late in the week. This would relieve some of the high level of traffic in the store that makes the separate lines necessary.

I wonder what it was that caused it. Were there so many people that there was a lot of jostling with men and women bumping up against each other? The stores I shop at are pretty busy on Thursdays and Fridays and I have never had the "opportunity" to be jostled up against female shoppers. Maybe that store is busier than the stores in my neighborhood?
Did they just use the opportunity to look at each other? How would separate lines prevent that? They can still look at each other.

Anyway, in my opinion this chumra loses its bid for Chumra of the Month. It loses because it is too little and too late. The Gerrer Chassidim are really the pioneers of everything separate. The Gerrers pioneered the separate seating in buses, they generally do not even walk with their wives in the street, they also have had, for years already, small supermarkets in any neighborhood in which they live in significant numbers where the shopping in not just separate lines, but separate hours, and even separate days.

So this little supermarket just comes up a bit too short for the Chumra of the Month.

The submissions for next months winner of Chumra of the Month are starting to come in. As the issue of tzniyus is always a popular one for COTM, we so far have submissions for separate cities (e.g. all men will move to Modiin Ilit and all women to Kiryat Sefer), and submissions for separate countries.
One submitter tried to submit something that had to be rejected, as it did not just make something up out of thin air, but actually contravened the Torah. The submitter wanted to suggest banning marriage between man and woman and only allow "separate marriage" {ve'hamyvin yavin}...


  1. ahh. Ramot Daled. such memories.

    My grandparents moved there from Tel Aviv (go figure) years and years ago. Talk about culture shock.

    Anyhow, given what the neighborhood looks like, I'm surprised it didn't happen until now.

    This reminds me of a joke my father told me (can't tell if it's true or not):

    Once when visiting his parents, he went to the corner grocery store to buy some items. Noticing it was packed with shoppers (men and women pushing and shoving), he quickly yelled 'pritzutz'..the men scrambled and he was able to shop in relative quiet.

    Chanuka Sameach

  2. The makolet at the top of that has a similar arrangement. However when trafic is this they bend the rules.

  3. If you think about it, the Gerrers are on to something.

    Think about it: a guy gets all hot about getting married. Then he does and when the initial thrill wears off, and the kids start to arrive, he realizes he's lost a great deal of his freedom. he can't go out when he wants, he can't just hang out with the guys if he wants, etc.

    Now, in the real world we call that "growing up" and accepting mature responsibility.

    In the world of Ger, we call this unacceptable and separate the genders: men on one side, women with children on the other. Yes, now the guy gets to hang out with the guys, go out to the kollel whenever he wants and generally duck as much responsibility as he can because he is not to hang out with the wife.

    Yet once a month or so he also gets sex with her, after which it's back to the guys! This is the life!

  4. Sorry Garnel, but carried to its logical conclusion, the type of separation of the sexes being mandated will also result in artificial insemination being required, thereby eliminating any chance at confraternization.

  5. eli - the makolet at the top of what? in ramot? in BS?

    profk - welcome. confraternization?

  6. Your column reminds me of another old joke -

    I guy is out for a walk and runs into a close friend of his, a Gerer Hassid.
    Hey Yankel, he says, fancy meeting you here, I just saw your wife about 2 blocks away.

    I know says Yankel, we're out on a romantic walk together.

  7. B"H

    Ever been to Super Glatt in Meah Sha'arim? It doesn't matter how careful and respectful people are, jostled is an understatement,...thus the men only on Tuesdays 6 to 9 pm rule.

    It's only three hours per week, though.

    Your example lessens support for my hyphothsis that "Mehadrin" systems are more for the nonHaredim, than the Haredim. But it does support my theory about more versus less isolated communities.

    I'm sure part of it is also to discourage certain people from moving into the neighborhood.

  8. I have a submission for the chumra of the month.

    I was trying to convince a neighbor to split a Lema'an Achai raffle ticket with me. He refused.
    I asked him why. He told me that he "doesn't support Lema'an Achai".

    I asked what does that mean? He said they're "Dati Leumi" and his Rav said not to give them money (what a chumra).

    I told him that hey...they have Rabbonim behind them (Rav Solevechik, Rav Shapira, Rav Malinowitz, Rav Yudelevich, etc.) and they help anyone in need (mostly Charedim) and are run by a Charedi musmach (Rav Leventhal).

    He said...well Charedi people just don't give to them.

    I then told him that if they are kosher to take from then they should be kosher to give to as well.

    Save us from such chumros.

  9. A Gerrer couple was walking together in the street and an aquaintance of the man saw them and said, "I thought Gerrers don't walk with their wives in the street." He answered, "don't worry she's not my wife!".

  10. Anon of 9:37-

    The fact that there are a few deranged Rabbonim who oppose Lemaan Achai and people who listen is the greatest proof that they are doing the right thing!

    The Yetzer hara only attacks when something pure and good is happening.

    Kol HaKavod to Lema'an Achai and their supporters and a Freilichen Chanuka to all.

  11. When Zol Po first opened on Yirmiyahu St in Romema (I think it's now an Aleph or some other name) not only did they have 2 lines with male cashiers for men only but if a woman was dressed in pants, she was handed a wrap around skirt to put on and if her top wasn't 'tznius enough' she was given a cashier's coat to put on and snap up to the neck. The dress code eventually fell to the wayside, but the men-only lines stayed pretty much for the duration.

  12. Pesky,

    We liked to call "Zol Poh" "Lo Zol

    Now that it's "Yesh," we like to call it "Ain."



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