Monday, April 20, 2015

// // 9 comments

More Rituals of Strictly Orthodox Jews (3)

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths … All images in this article © Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

A Digg grabs a photoset from an interesting photographer, Yaakov Naumi.  Mr. Naumi is a charedi ultra-orthodox Jew from Israel, and specializes in taking news style photographs of charedi life and charedi news events.  It notes that because Mr. Naumi is part of the community, it opens the doors for him to come and take the photos.  I’ve decided to grab a few photos and give interesting details…

This is one is very unusual…

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This chassidic charedi man is wearing a partial blindfold, so he can only look down (not to trip).  He’s at the airport.

There is a holy strict Jewish custom called Shemiras Aynayim, which literally means “guarding ones eyes” – meaning one shouldn’t see things that are inappropriate.  Generally this means things like one shouldn’t go to a mixed beach or look at women while walking down the street.

The most extreme version of this is practiced by the kabbalists, the Jewish mystics, and they basically seclude themselves to keep themselves in a holy and pure environment.  A small subsect of certain chassidim, mostly Breslev chassidim, will practice this by literally partially blindfolding themselves whenever going out into public.

This stands out as an unusual and rare practice, as it doesn’t make much sense to attempt to isolate oneself while going through the airport or to stores and in crowds of people.  Regardless of whether I think this makes sense or not, it is a known practice of this narrow sub-sect.

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On Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day after Passover, there is a custom to light a bonfire and have a small celebration.  This is in honor of a great sage from history, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, completing his life and leaving this world (and telling everyone to celebrate).

Within Israel there is a small group (small is a few hundred) that believes the creation of the secular State of Israel is delaying the coming of the righteous redeemer, Moshiach tzidkaynu.  Therefore opposing the existence of the State of Israel, whiling living within it’s borders, is part of their religious beliefs.

The above picture, most likely taken in Meah Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel, is them holding their Lag B’Omer bonefire by burning Israeli flags – combinging the religious celebration with their religious objection to the existence of the State.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it okay for me to say: Bah Humbug.
They remind me of talli banas.

all bananas
anon

Anonymous said...

Person on the left looks just like somebody in a Rembrandt painting. Don't get me wrong, and it doesn'r realy matter what i say. But the picure has a certain holiness to it.

David said...

To anon,

This is the first time I see a man covering his eyes just not to be tempted by women. He's not trying to put burkas on any women, he's not arrassing anybody, he's behaving that way for himself only, not to impose his views(literally) on anybody.

This is what feminist want!

How can you compare him to talibans who would throw acid to women who wouldn't comply with covering themselves from head to toe?!

Anonymous said...

Well no, he's not being violent or aggressive. But he is, by wearing this weird eye covering, indicating that ALL women have the potential to be seductresses and invite impure thoughts every time they are seen by a man - kind of insulting both sexes I feel. We were granted vision to see all manner of things, not to avoid seeing all the nuances and variances of nature. One might as well muffle our ears ALL the time just in case one hears uncivil speech. Anon uk

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon No.4.

Geez he can get tempted so easily by just looking at a woman??!!
Jewish women too do not cover their faces, except for a certain sect that do wear burqua's.

Yes he is like Tali bananas... not by throwing acid, but by acting like females are like temptresses waiting to make man fall in sin.
One Jewish sect does make their women make burquas..

Geez get a break...

Anonymous said...

I respect every custom and tradition, however I tend to think that using such "visual shields" ends up in Chilul HaShem - as can be seen from some comments here putting down religious people who are probably much better persons than the ones who mocked them.

HKB"H wants Jewish men to be holy and not to gaze at random women and consequently have improper thoughts about them.

I know very well that it can be a very difficult challenge, as I live in one of the most perverted places on earth (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), where most women go around totally immodest and brazenly exposing their bodies for everyone to see, the whole year round.

It sure demands an intensive effort to keep on track.

In a "cleaner" environment - i.e. places where women dress modestly - the challenge is less demanding, however one should always be aware to guard his eyes, as man's yetzer ha'rah never sleeps.

I've also learnt from our Rebbeim that the holier the person, the greater his (or her) yetzer ha'rah is - in order to keep the balance of free will.

Anyway, let the guy use his blindfolds if he's happy with them, as long as he doesn't coerce anybody nor force others to do as they wish.

R. Halevy

Anonymous said...

At least 99% of strictly orthodox Jews do not engage in either of these very recently introduced practices, so why is Mystical Paths, which has a varied readership even writing about this nonsense. It's a real chilchul Hashem, putting people off real Torah Judaism.

Write about the mitzvot of the Torah, about pursuing peace between people, about opening our hand to the poor, the sabbatical year for the land and spiritual renewal, the requirement for universal education, ..... the way of the Torah is darkei noam, paths of peace, so why not write about them and use your platform to bring Jews and non-Jews close to Torah?

Akiva said...

Because the photos were picked up by a very main stream Internet outlet (Digg), I am trying to give the pictures some context.

Anonymous said...

In that case, the whole post is misleading. You present: "rituals of strictly orthodox Jews", but this is not true. These are photos of a few individuals, operating way outside any normative or even ultra strict practice of Torah Judaism.

In halacha a man is not allowed to gaze at a woman, and he can be shomer eynaim, but in a normal, discrete way. Nowhere is it written that he should be blindfolded, partially or otherwise. As for burning the Israeli flag, these Jews are making a huge chilul Hashem and causing sinat hinam. There are also a few women who dress like the Taliban, in contravention of Jewish law. Just because an "orthodox Jew" does something it doesn't make it orthodox Judaism.

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