Belzer Rebbe Has Words of Guidance for the Chassidus’ Women

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belzAddressing a kenos for the women in the Belz community, the Rebbe Shlita instructed them to speak only in Yiddish and to be makpid on modest attire. “One does not have to dress in a displeasing way, but there is a moderate road” the rebbe told the women.

The rebbe explained it is insufficient to gather and acknowledge and praise HaKodosh Baruch Hu but we must all accept a certain lifestyle and look ahead to the future. The tzibur must act appropriately, in line with “yiddisher kinder in a bayis Yehudi and bnos Yisrael”.

The kenos on Wednesday night, the eve of 8 Shevat 5774 was attended by thousands of women. The rebbe, who was speaking to the women standing behind a mechitzah, explained the matter of tznius does not require explanation “for each one understands what is meant here”. He encourages the women to form groups that will study sifrei mussar and one may speak words of hisorarus with the others when they gather or travel to mekomos kedoshim. The rebbe encourages group recital of Tehillim as well as recitation on the individual level.

The rebbe quoted the Chazon Ish, who was asked about modesty and that the Gemara teaches us how we have an evil inclination too, and Torah study is the medicine to counter this. Women however are not commanded to limud Torah so how can they conquer their yetzer hora. The rebbe explained the Chazon Ish responded women accomplish this by modesty, adding it is critical for women to dress and speak appropriately, and this means in Yiddish and to take care not to speak loshon hora or rechilus. Clothing should not be too long or too short and certainly not too tight. Care must be taken to watch over the children, boys and girls alike, and how they interact with one another. “It is the job of parents to watch over children in the home” the rebbe added.

The rebbe then addressed the importance of wives supporting and encouraging husbands limud Torah, “even at the expense of time at home”, adding each chossid must set aside times for limud, and how must more so is the wives’ job critical when it comes to fulltime limud. The rebbe acknowledges that one’s life style in this world may be marginal but this will earn them a fine lifestyle in the World to Come. He warns of those who have fallen in their Avodas H’ because they failed to designate time for limud. The rebbe did acknowledge that B”H there are countless number of avreichim who are dedicated and applying themselves as they should to their limud Torah.

The rebbe spoke of marrying off the children and when engaged in shidduchim, one should not view oneself too big or small, and the same for the family of a potential shidduch. A recipe for shalom bayis is not to become involved in the personal lives of the young couple if they can avoid doing so. Even when there is a need to comment or criticize, one should try doing so in a general vein rather than directing remarks at the young ones. The rebbe warns intervention may take a toll on the shalom bayis of the young couple chas v’sholom.

The rebbe speaks of keeping a budget to permit managing with one’s income. This applies to marrying off the children too. One must remember when making a first chasenah that there are other children at home too. Despite the fact we must live with faith and bitachon in HKBH a home must be managed with fiscal responsibility and one should not spend what one does not have.

The rebbe adds it is a given that women must cover their heads following their chasenah and it is preferable not with a wig. Those who wear a wig should have it covered as well, with a scarf of hat and not to follow those who simply wear a ribbon or band on a shteitel for this is not sufficient. One’s wig should not be the same color as one’s own hair and it should not be too long, for these are contrary to modesty standards.

Care must be taken not to have unblocked internet connectivity in the home or workplace for those who require connectivity, especially in a place where children may have access. This holds true for men and women alike and even kosher internet is only permitted when it is required for parnasa.

The rebbe concluded quoting Shlomo HaMelech’שקר החן והבל היופי, אשה יראת ה’ היא תתהלל’, citing there is a difference if one wishes to dress elegantly for one’s husband or children, but one must dress appropriately when one goes into the street to avoid having people turn around and look.

I hope I did not speak too little or too much. I said words that cannot be misinterpreted. I said everything in a direct succinct fashion to avoid any misunderstanding.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)




10 COMMENTS

  1. I love this quote “Those who wear a wig should have it covered as well, with a scarf of hat and not to follow those who simply wear a ribbon or band on a shteitel for this is not sufficient.”
    There is no such halacha as this

  2. #2: If you are not a Belzer and a female, the Rebbe’s words are not addressed to you.

    Your comment is not pertinent to those to whom the Rebbe’s words WERE addressed.

  3. THe Rebbe shlita, did not address how they should go about having any parnassah, if the woman should remain tznius in the home (which I do believe she should) and the husband should learn, where is the parnassah coming from?

  4. Destro613
    The Rav made it clear that he’s not obligating anyone, nor is he telling the women what they must do, he is only suggesting the right Derech for Belzer Chassidim, and each should choose what they accept and what they don’t.
    The Sheitel covering is clearly not Halacha, it is only a Geder where to draw the line of belonging to a community and conforming to its lifestyle, to keep us within the normal ranges of Tznius, versus doing and wearing whatever we please.

  5. #2 destro613 – of course there’s no such Halacha, there’s also no Halacha to speak Yiddish or a number of other items mentioned in this article. If people voluntarily want to follow the standards of this particular Chasidus, though, that’s there prerogative, and it is up to the Rebbe to set the standards. The fact that you or I think these extreme and unnecessary has no bearing on how others choose to live their lives.

    an Israeli Yid

  6. Chassidim keep halachah at a higher level than the basic level, usually. I think we call this chumrah… For some chassidim, their halachah is more stringent. (Like it used to be that in the chassidish schools, the skirts had to be 10 cm below the knee. That has changed and now many schools hold that the halachah – based on a psak from a big gadol – is between the knee and the ankle. If one understands the dor, one can understand the necessity for more stringencies!) I think the rebbe was addressing a new style in Belz and other chassidic groups to cover the sheitel with something that often looks more like a yarmulke than a proper double head covering. Belzer women always wore a proper hat on top of the sheitel – until recently. I’m happy to hear the rebbe addressing this and the other issues.

  7. I’m neither Belz nor Chasidic, but sheitels themselves are at most a b’dieved. The vast majority of poskim held that a sheitel is insufficient for an eishes ish to cover her hair with. The only reason so many use the small minority view allowing sheitelech, is because some time ago the women of the generation were not up to following strict halacha.