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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]

Stayed home all day Shabbos. Which has it's own problems since Shabbat now ends at 9PM. When I'm normal, I go to synagogue in the morning, take a nap in the afternoon and then go to a friend's house for some Torah discussion. This ends around seven or maybe later, and so I have enough to do.

But I wasn't going to shul, and I wasn't walking even further to go to my friend's house, and we weren't going to have guests for lunch, so lunch would take a half hour, tops. And daavening by myself only takes fifteen minutes. And I knew all of this on Friday.

So I spent part of Friday downloading and printing out fic - I made a collection of short stories, and another of stories by one writer plus an extra that someone had set in her universe, and I asked my husband to take a longer story that had been posted in parts and print it at work (he has ways to make it easier and faster). I thought I had enough to be going on with.

I was wrong. I finished the first packet (25 pages squished squished from over 100) before my husband came home from synagogue (granted, I'd started the night before.) And I devoured all but the last one by lunch time.

This meant rationing - finding other things to read. I did - we get part of the Sunday NYT on Saturday, so I can read the magazine and the book review and the Arts page. Jonathan gets Slate and Salon on paper. We also get Yated, which is a very "black hat" Orthodox paper. And I read slowly. And I tried to nap. And, well. I tried. I knew I had a house full of books I could read if necessary, but somehow, I wanted the last novel to last.

Fortunately, my husband ran into a young friend of ours on his way back from his Daf Yomi class. He's the fourteen year old son of the family we *were* going to have over for Shavuot lunch. So, since Y didn't have to go home right away, jonbaker invited him up.

We discussed comic books and filks and the wig thing (his mother won a fancy custom sheitl at charity auction a couple years ago, and wore it to his bar mitzvah last year, but not since. And it did have Indian hair, so her rabbi told them to get rid of it. Since it was basically free *and* she didn't like wearing it, that wasn't a problem. Her other one, which she also rarely wears, is synthetic.) And it was very nice. He left about an hour later to go to afternoon services, and Jonathan followed to go to our shul shortly afterwards.

No, the story did not last, but I had no problems filling in the last forty-five minutes until 9PM.

(Oh, and if you read Harry Potter slash and haven't read A Thousand Beautiful Things by geoviki, you should. It's H/D, it's rated R and it's quite well-done.)

And spent the evening reading LJ and catching up.

And today, I left the house. We took the bus to Eichlers, a Jewish bookstore, where I bought the last of a series of children's books I've been reading (I've been reading children's books for years, before the HP thing.) and an autobiography, and Jonathan got me this enormous three volume work on the Psalms. I'm reading a tractate of mishnah now, in preparation for a shul wide celebration, but when I finish that, I hope to start studying the psalms in depth. Then we went out to dinner.

And I'm not lightheaded. I did more than I did last Thursday and I'm feeling better. I have no fears about work tomorrow - I think the fatigue is mostly gone. Yay! Maybe Pakua this Thursday, although I'll take it easy.


I'm glad you're feeling better.

You know, I really like reading your journal. I like reading about the little things you do each day. You're one of my favorite LJ people and I hope we can meet one day. :)

Oh. Wow. *Blush* Wow.

Thank you.

I'd love to meet you some day, too.


I'm glad you're feeling better!

Something I was wondering about with the wigs: would there be a halachic problem with giving them away (to gentiles), such as to the organizations that help people suffering from cancer (who've lost their hair due to chemo)? It seems like that would turn a loss into a mitzvah, and would be better all around than trashing or burning them, so I wonder if the people affected by this are thinking in that direction.

People have looked into that, because it is such a tremendous waste.

But, no. It's not possible. Because Jews get cancer, too and might be given these wigs and that can't be allowed to happen, even if those Jews aren't religious. And I know it sounds strange because, you know. Percentage of population and all that. But you can't nullify avoda zarah, and you can't take the chance. I wasn't happy to hear that, either.

It is a waste! It's... sorry, I know about the avoda zarah, just... it's making me a little nuts, the whole thing. I mean if I ever find mine I will get rid of it (not promising to burn it, don't know how I could, practically speaking) and I did go back to covering my hair full-time now that I went back to my husband (like, today) so... I just hope it's a long time before someone else discovers some major problem like this because they tear at my heart and mind.

In other news (so to speak) I also used to read Yated, but maybe I wasn't reading it right because some of the stuff in there just got to me, like I was expected to agree with things I couldn't handle. Yet you seem to be OK with it, so maybe... maybe as I said I was reading it wrong?

Well, I didn't mean to be disrespectful in this post... just I wish I could see more balance in my life between stuff like observing Shabbos (not looking forward to my "first" coming up, reading frum publications, and enjoying Potter slash (and while I prefer the relatively rare Harry/Ron subgenre I will check out that story)

Again, sorry if I said anything wrong, just your posts struck a lot of chords with me.

You haven't offended. I disagree with a lot of the attitude of Yated. It's often politically too far to the right for me, and it supports the man currently sitting in the White House and doesn't support Israel. I mostly read the short stories as a glimpse into a very different universe, the ads for a different glimpse and the articles, if at all, to catch typos, bad grammar and historical problems. (I mean, do these people learn any history other than the most narrow?)

But in this one case, I liked what they said. I also liked that they refused to do anything but present the facts as they knew them, and the only opinion they advanced was how good it was to see all of Orthodox Judaism studying the same thing, even if they came to different conclusions (and, trust me, it's all still very up in the air.) And Yated never shies away from opinions even in non-editorial reporting, so that was pretty amazing.

You find your own opinions about anything that doesn't concern halacha, and for halacha, look only to your own rav and who he follows. I have no idea what my rav thinks about the wig thing - no, I do. He's currently amazed at how many brands and makers of wigs there are. :) And he believes it's an important issue.

As I don't wear wigs, I do not need to ask him about them halachically. As most women in my synagogue do not wear wigs (many wear hats over visible, sometimes long, hair and he has never made an issue about that, either) it's up to the few who do to consult him.

Balance is something you create for yourself - and don't let the community dictate everything. And feel free to disagree with Yated and Jewish Press and the New York Times. And me.

At the time I read the Yated I was much more strongly to the right religiously than I am now (not that that was a bad thing, either, just a fact on the ground) so I rather felt like I was "supposed" to be believing everything it said... that was very difficult for me.

That said, I was reading it one day and there was some article about landscaping in Israel and the title was "Bring Me A Shrubbery" and I'm still laughing over that one.

Right now I don't have a rabbi and I'm afraid to get one. I'm just afraid to give any religious figure, especially a male one (and there's no choice) that much authority over my life. I'm going to have to do it, and now, I have some shaylos to ask, just... I'm scared.

It is, I'm afraid to say, one of the things about my religion that I very strongly disagree with.

It *might* happen, sure, but odds are so remote as make worrying about it...well...silly. I think it falls well outside the fence around the fence around the fence around...

(This, of course, explains why I'm not Orthodox in my practices)

That's what I would feel - it's such a small chance that it would happen - if it were something like treif which nullifies one in sixty. And if it were like treif, no one would care for themselves. Assuming, of course (it's not totally decided) that it *was* avoda zarah in the first place.

This is more like chometz on Pesach. A drop of milk falls into a huge pot of beef stew, it is nullified and everything is still kosher. A crumb of bread falls into a huge pot of food during Pesach, it's no longer edible and the pot is questionable. It doesn't nullify. This isn't a fence around a fence in this case. It's not even a fence.

And bear in mind - women who cut their hair short after their marriages (Not shave. Only a couple of groups, mostly Satmar in origin, shave) often donate their hair to these organizations.

As mamadeb said, the problem is that there's always the small chance that the sheitetl could end up being given to a Jew, and you can't take that chance. You could, however, give it directly to someone that you knew wasn't Jewish who needed it. The odds of you knowing someone in the situation who you KNEW wasn't Jewish are fairly low, though.

Not everyone agrees right now that the sheitels are a problem. My rabbi says that we don't yet have enough information to know that even Indian hair sheitels are problemmatic and says we need to wait and see. He isn't, by any means, suggesting that avodah zorah isn't a problem or that it shouldn't be taken seriously. Rather, he is saying that we can't know enough yet to really be panicking. Therefore, I continue to wear mine (which doesn't have Indian hair in it in any case anyway). Obviously, anyone concerned about the issue needs to speak with their own rabbi and follow their opinion. But I was just pointing out an example of one rabbi who isn't panicked yet.

I have been told that the dominant attitude here in Pittsburgh is also to wait and see. No one here is holding wig-burnings and the like.

I don't wear a wig, but if I did and it had Indian hair and my rabbi told me I couldn't wear it any more, I think I would be much more inclined to put it away somewhere than to destroy it -- because, unfortunately, it could come to pass in the future that a gentile friend or acquaintance would have need of a wig, and I could save that person a great deal of money by donating mine.

The odds of you knowing someone in the situation who you KNEW wasn't Jewish are fairly low, though.

I've had three friends (all gentiles) in the last decade who've had to go through chemo. I would be thrilled if that turned out to be my lifetime allocation of cancer influence, but somehow I doubt it.

I didn't mean to suggest that there are a shortage of women who have gone through chemo. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I've known I guess 3 or 4 women (one I only suspected) who have lost their hair due to chemo treatment. None of them wanted to wear a wig. And I haven't known any in 5 or 6 years (B''H). Again, not saying that there is a shortage of need, only that the odds aren't necessarily huge. Especiallly when you consider that a lot of the women currently burning their sheitels live in fairly isolated Jewish communities, where they don't know a lot of gentile women (I'm not saying they don't know any).

I am not a fan of burning sheitels. I think that is far over the top. So please don't think I'm endorsing it. Just trying to see both sides. Like I said, I believe that people need to stop panicking. But I also know why this is such a serious issue, and I understand why emotionally, culturally, and religiously, this has come as quite a blow to the Orthodox community.

I'm sorry; I didn't mean to imply anything about you; I was just offering data. And very good point about the likelihood of people in the wig-burning neighborhoods having the same kinds of contact with gentiles that we do.

I agree that this is a serious issue that needs to be looked at calmly. And I've definitely been on the receiving end of the "what's the big deal, you fanatic?" attitude with respect to avodah zara, so I sympathize. (I usually get it in response to declining to participate in activities I consider to be too strongly advocating of Christianity.)

There's another issue to the wig-burning vs. donation question: that there is a positive mitzvah to destroy an object that was offered as an idolatrous sacrifice, and a negative mitzvah against deriving any benefit from them (e.g. taking a tax deduction for donating it). See Rambam Hilchot Avodah Zarah ch. 7


Most poskim in the States are taking a wait-and-see attitude. As for rosehiptea's sheitl, there are lists of kosher and non-kosher wigs coming out, so I wouldn't rush into anything.

there is a positive mitzvah to destroy an object that was offered as an idolatrous sacrifice

Thank you! That makes a big difference.