by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
Three weeks ago, we complained about Mishpacha magazine following the extreme chumra (super duper not required religious stringency) of avoiding female images in the magazine by Photoshopping out a picture of First Lady Laura Bush with 3 Chabad kosher supervisors in the Whitehouse kitchen for the Chanukah party.
Our complaint was not so much about the stringency, but rather that they modified a news photo and presented the modification as if it was the original, a lie of obfuscation.
This is an all too common error among some segments of religious society, where the stringency becomes the focus over the halacha (the basic religious law).
While Mishpacha Magazine chose not to print a retraction or my letter to the editor, they did print an "editorial clarification" which stated they following the rulings of religious leaders (that statement wasn't relevant because this had nothing to do with such rulings) and don't publish even modest pictures of women due to the sensitives of some readers who wish to avoid looking at pictures of women (so they can enjoy the magazine without lowering their religious observance). As not only I stated, they missed the point by focusing on the stringency at the cost of the halacha (veering into lies to avoid publishing the picture of a modestly dressed famous older woman).
But in this week's Misphacha (issue 243), we find they don't even keep to their own chumra (stringency)...
One assumes the Mishpacha photo adjuster was off this day. But, we'll give them a pass as it's a large crowd photo. After all, any magazine can make one mistake...
Two female photos have graced page 35 of Mishpacha, this could be a serious issue. But again, we'll give it a pass as it's an OLD photo, maybe that makes it ok...
Oh wait, what's that face in the background with no beard, silky smooth skin, chest bumps, and carefully plucked eyebrows. Oh no, could it be, yes I think it is, it's a chayelet, a female IDF support soldier.
Clearly I'm holding Mishpacha to a ridiculous standard. However, they set a standard that has them deleting the First Lady of the United States out of a photo where she asked the rabbaim to come in and kosher the national Whitehouse kitchen due to concerns of ANY female image - regardless of level of modesty or newsworthiness, or whether it turns the resulting photo into a lie.
If that's their standard of kosher, then this week they're treif 3 times over.
Will they be printing an URGENT RECALL of all copies of this issue, will they be printing a SERIOUS APOLOGY to all of their readers who hold the chuma?
Should Mishpacha be declared treif for violation of the chumra?
Consultation with rabbinic authority may be appropriate.