Friday, September 13, 2013

And people wonder where the Burka ladies come from ...

When Yated Neeman this week published a front page קול קורא form women to be מתחזק in their צניעות.

It says that for women צניעות is one of their fundamental mitzvos and therefore they should be מתחזק in their צניעות. It isn't hard for me to imagine a Charedi woman who already dresses צניעות to look at this and feel that they have to do more and burkas are just the logical conclusion if we take this קול קורא at face value.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

4 Minim at a subsidized price, is this a good thing?

For the first time in all the years I have lived in Israel, I am seeing ads all over the place for subsidized ד' מינים. Many chesed organizations are organizing sales at cost or even subsidized prices. Below are 2 of the many ads that I saw.

I assume the reason for this is the government cutbacks in kollel stipends and child payments and therefore many people simply cannot afford it. While at first glance this seems like a great idea, it may have negative consequences. There are a lot of people who make a good part of their yearly income by selling ד' מינים. This year it will be very hard for them to compete with chesed organizations undercutting their prices by as much as half. In essence, this will be depriving the sellers of their parnassa.

In fact, I am seeing this kind of sale happen for more and more items, meat, clothing, etc. If this trend continues then Charedi stores will simply have to go out of business, there is no way they can compete against the prices that these organizations offer. This may set off a vicious cycle, people are poor and therefore can't spend money in the stores, which makes the stores unprofitable, making the store owner and all his workers poor which makes the Charedi community even poorer.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Starting Selichos on Time

Last night was the first night of selichos and in Israel חצות was about 12:40 so selichos also started around 12:40. Many shuls have a minhag where the Rav speaks for a few minutes before selichos to inspire the people. This is a very fine minhag, however, the Rav should realize that it is very late and that people want to start selichos on time and go home and go to sleep. Sunday in Israel is a regular workday and people can't really sleep late. For the Rav to plan to speak for 15 minutes and then speak for an extra 10 minutes is really not right. No one would be upset if the Rav spoke for 25 or even 30 minutes if he started 25 or 30 minutes before the scheduled time for selichos. However, to start speaking 15 minutes before the scheduled start and then go over 10 minutes and start selichos 10 minutes late  is a tremendous טרחא דציבורא at such a late hour.

There is a famous saying that to speak for 10 minutes is much harder then to speak for an hour. When you have a short time you need to really hone your message and measure your words. When you have an hour you have much more leeway. Unfortunately, there are some people who can never fit what they want to say in the allotted time. If you give them ten minutes they speak for 20-25. If you give them an hour they will have enough material for an hour and a half.

This really bothers me. Many times it points to a lack of discipline and preparation. I speak publicly every so often, and when I do so, I go over exactly what I am going to say a number of times before I actually speak and I time myself. If I have 10 minutes to speak then I will make sure that I have enough to say for 10 minutes and not more. The same goes for 40 minutes or an hour. I don't understand how you can prepare a speech that is allotted 15 minutes and take 25 minutes. That is almost double the time.