Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Pictures Of Women - Part 1

The following petition is circulating:

Pictures of Women in Charedi Publications

In the last few decades, chareidi publications have stopped publishing pictures of women. In the past, however, photos of women were commonly published in frum publications. Upon researching this recent trend, we learned that for most of these publications, the decision is economic, not halachic. There are a growing number of frum women and men who believe it is detrimental for women not to be shown in any photos, especially in magazines that are marketed directly for frum women, and that the negative impact on the chinuch of our children and on many frum women outweighs any perceived benefits of this practice that has no precedent in our mesorah.

We would like to show these publications that there is in fact an economic factor - that they will get more of our business by putting women back in. You can now be part of this petition and "pre-order" a subscription, to show magazines that they will gain more customers by including (tzanua) women's pictures. A yearly subscription one of these Orthodox Jewish magazines costs $179. Would you be willing to commit to a subscription if women were to be put back in? Or are you a current subscriber who would welcome this change?


Then they have approbations from two rabbonim who are far from being known as halachic authorities [great men, no offense but not everybody is the posek ha-dor]. Why don't they go to top poskim for their signatures? Because they probably won't get them! Yes, in the olden days pictures of women were published in Charedi publications, but Baruch Hashem people have become more aware of the problems involved because today people are much more learned than they were in the previous century. 

Let me be clear:




I am in favor of learning the sources and finding out what the Torah says. 

Most of the readers of this blog were raised "modern" [i.e. TV, movies, Internet etc.] and therefore the notion that women's pictures aren't published feels ludicrous and fanatical. C'mon, that's going too far. 

The reality is that there are POSKIM [from the earlier generations] who hold that it is FORBIDDEN to look at women. Period. If one wants to follow them - why not? קדוש יאמר לו.

Rav Kook didn't look at a woman from the age he realized that a woman is a woman. Many tzadikim wouldn't look at women.

So why do I and many other people who are trying to keep the Torah look? BECAUSE IT'S NOT POLITE TO LOOK AWAY!! Since there are poskim who permit one to look - provided that one doesn't intend to derive pleasure from looking and that she is dressed modestly - therefore many people look in order not to hurt the women's feelings. But to look at her pictures of women? It doesn't ADD to one's level of kedusha and in many instances it brings one down - ולב יודע מרת נפשו. Any normal guy will testify that just looking at an attractive woman for a split seconds arouses feelings that are the opposite of Kedusha [not to mention the negative effect it has on one's marital bond וד"ל].

So we can't be complete Tzadikim and never look - but pictures in a magazine? Why is that GOOD? Not every picture is going to attract every guy but once it is permitted to freely feature photos of women - it is IMPOSSIBLE that many men won't fall many degrees spiritually.

In order to fully understand what I am saying it would requires years of study of the ספרים הקדושים and a life where one is separate from such things. Otherwise - my words are likely to sound NUTSO. 

Are women just sex objects?? G-D FORBID!!!! The problem is that the intellect knows that a woman is a living, feeling, thinking, talking. G-dly soul. But the lower part of man sees an attractive woman and if he could, if it were permitted, if he could get away with it, if he wouldn't feel guilty, if she was agreeable, he would not just share with her a nice vort from the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh. 

So is the male animal.    

THAT is why we have a mechitza in shul. For even in shul, even in the middle of the bracha of סלח לנו as the man is banging his chest, contrite and submissive to G-d, if he could see women - he is liable to think of her in ways that we don't want to admit. Should we abolish the mechitza as well? Isn't that offensive to women? Many people say yes!!

But for those of us who know that is is not intended as a personal affront but to preserve the sanctity of our shul are not bothered. People who understand the notion of Kedusha are happy not to look at pictures of women. Most people unfortunately are desensitized. 

And final point - Is THAT our problem today?? We have so many more serious one's and I wish that energies would be directed in those areas. 

So let us see what Rav Malkiel Tzvi Tannenbaum writes: