Nov 24, 2014

What is bad about the terror widows speaking out

A beautiful letter was put out signed by the widows of the terror attack in Jerusalem calling on people to show love for each other and to be united and friendly.

It is a nice call to action, and it is really something that should be improved on all year long and not just after a brutal terror attack, but it does bother me a bit. But not as much as it bothers someone else.

The call bothers me a bit because I happen to know that it was not from the widows. It is a letter that was brought to them to sign. It is nice content, so they signed. The widows have not yet met and sat together to talk about anything, let alone to collude on a letter. This is someone's agenda, and he is taking advantage of emotions to put it out there. The justifying factor, and why it does not bother me too much, is that nobody seems to be gaining personally from it and it is a nice message, one that we should be working on all the time anyway.

Dov Halbertal is a Haredi lawyer. He is really more than just a lawyer, as he is an askan, and is a person who puts himself in the public eye on behalf of the Haredi community. Halbertal wrote an op-ed blasting the letter above. I was surprised because I had not seen any criticism of the letter until Halbertal's, and it seemed as the the people accepted the call and were spreading the message.

Halbertal's problem with the letter, while acknowledging that it is unknown who is really behind it (meaning, he knows it isnt the widows really behind it), is that it comes from a spirit of liberalism blowing through the country in recent years.

Halbertal links the letter to previous other calls by mothers, fiances, girlfriends and widows. It started in the secular community with the "Four Mothers" that effected the pullout from Lebanon due to their vocal protests. It moved to the Dati Leumi community the three mothers [of the kidnapped boys], and the fathers were practically not heard from. He even points to one of the mothers who said kaddish publicly, against halacha he says, and was publicly praised for it. And they have remained in the public eye, being invited to participate in events around the country. Then it continued through the war in Gaza, Protective Edge, during which mothers, sisters and fiances were located to talk about their soldiers who had fallen or been injured. And now, seeing this new letter from Haredi widows, Halbertal says it appears that this liberalism is spreading to the Haredi world.

He forgets, or neglects, to mention the mother of the missing yeshiva boy in Jerusalem this past year who put out calls for the public to bring in Shabbos earlier than normal.

It is liberalism in Halbertal's eyes just because it is women speaking out. He'd prefer they just stay quiet. The saying used to be children were meant to be seen and not heard. In Halbertal's eyes, and according to him in the Haredi world's eyes, women were meant to be seen and not heard. Actually, they are not meant to be seen or heard. Anything beyond that is evil liberalism.

The women have a voice too. The mothers, the widows, the daughters, the sisters, the fiances - they all feel pain too, and they can express it as well. The women are not saying anything against the beliefs of their community. They are even using their positions and emotions to strengthen the message of the community. It is just bad because it is women who are saying it. They have what to offer in their expressions of faith, in their encouragement of the public to behave certain ways, to increase faith, and it is not bad that they finally live in a time where they can speak out, if they want to.

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  1. If adults really sign something, shouldn't we assume they mean it?

  2. When I saw the letter, my first immediate reaction was exactly the same as yours. The women didn't choose something that everyone should accept upon themselves. Had they been asked to choose something they may have chosen this or they may have come up with something else. Someone just decided that this should be the cause and how could they say no? I think it's terrible that this guy bothered them with this during shiva. I was so upset that I turned Shabbos into a day of Sinas Chinam. It felt good :-)

  3. Not to mention that woman, Rachel, always crying for her children to come back... Is Halbertal against her, too? And don't forget what her mother-in-law did back then, plotting against her husband to favour the other twin... And the generation before, when some wife asked that the maid be driven away... Surely the one who told her husband to "listen to all that your wife says" was not a real rabbi... Sheesh, those liberals...

  4. Chanokh beat me to it. Of COURSE he's against Rachel's crying! After all, doesn't Hashem Himself tell her to stop? What more proof do you want?

    Oy. vey.

  5. בזכות נשים צדקניות נגאלין ישראל
    someone tell him to sit back and enjoy the ride

  6. Rabbi schmuel auerbach's people aee behind the letter...


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