FORBIDDING WOMEN DRIVERS: A HALACHIC ANALYSIS

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women_drivers_ahead_yard_signBy Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times

The media has widely reported that a Belz Yeshiva in England has forbidden women from driving their children to Yeshiva. It was further reported that if the mothers do not comply, the children will be thrown out of Yeshiva.

In a letter sent to parents last week, seen by the Jewish Chronicle, they say there has been an increase in the number of mothers driving their children to school and add that this has led to “great resentment among parents of pupils of our [Hasidic] institutions”.

The letter says the ban, to come into force in the summer, is based on the recommendations of Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer spiritual leader in Israel.

It says that if a mother has no other choice but to drive her child to school – for medical reasons, for example – she should “submit a request to the special committee to this effect and the committee shall consider her request.”

The question is what does halacha have to say about this?

It seems, of course, that the majority view of the Poskim is to allow it, as most Chareidi communities certainly allow women drivers. It was also the view of Rav Elyashiv to allow it. In a work entitled Ohel Yaakov (page 302), Rav Elyashiv zt”l is quoted as saying that although women should not drive in areas where it is not the custom to do so, there is no concern whatsoever in women driving elsewhere. This is certainly the predominate halachic view.

On the other hand, there are Poskim in the Chareidi community that have written otherwise. Rav Menashe Klein z”l in his Mishnah Halachos (Vol. XII #300) writes to forbid it, Rav Mordechai Gross Shlita a Rav in Bnei Brak also writes that it is a problem of Tznius in his work V’haya machanecha Kadosh (p. 15). The biggest authority who looks askance at the practice is Rav Shmuel Vosner z”l in his Shaivet haLevi (Vol. IV #1).
With due respect to the view of the latter three Poskim, however, I would like to suggest a source that indicates that, at least in the time of the Shulchan Aruch, it would have been permitted.

RENTING A DONKEY

There is a fascinating Shulchan Aruch (CM 308:1) that discusses whether someone who rented a donkey may allow a woman to ride on it without having had specifically contracted to allow it. The conclusion is that the renter may not do so. Rav Yehoshua Ben Alechsander HaCohain, the author of the Smah (1555-1614) explains that the reason is because of weight pattern differentials between genders.

The Chasdei Dovid on the Tosefta in Bava Metziah (7:6) provides a different explanation. He writes that women are not as proficient at riding as men are. Therefore, the one who rented it did not have them in mind necessarily, and it would require that it be stipulated specifically that a woman is riding the donkey.
It is clear, however, that both according to the Smah and the Chasdei Dovid, there is no breach in modesty whatsoever in allowing a woman to ride a donkey. There is no question that riding a donkey in public allows for more public exposure than driving a car. We see, therefore, that from a strict halachic point of view, there was no basis whatsoever to restrict a woman from driving a car.

One could perhaps argue that we are on a higher spiritual level than the people who lived in 16th century Tzfas. However, the general understanding of things is that as each generation progresses we are on a lower level of spirituality, as seen from the Gemorah in Shabbos 112b: If the earlier generations were like angels than we are like men etc.

Aside from this, however, there are four factors that are perhaps relevant to the issue. Admittedly, some readers will vehemently disagree with these four points, but these points do bear on the issue at hand and must be considered. These issues should be discussed with intelligence and not emotion.

POSSIBLY A GREATER BREACH

Another issue that must surely be taken into account is that when we forbid women to drive and they have a necessity to get to where they must go (doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, schools, and numerous other things) what ends up happening is that they need to take taxis. This creates an exposure that can, in our generation be much worse. This author is personally aware of two such incidences involving cab drivers that were, indeed, quite horrifying. Often these incidents are suppressed, however, and the general public is unaware of them. One can speak to Askanim to ascertain that these incidents are, in fact, quite real.
The communities in Eretz Yisroel are far different than those in Chutz La’Aretz in terms of distance. Our institutions in Chutz LaAretz are not “around the corner” as they are in Eretz Yisroel communities. We must be ever careful in creating a situation where we are forcing our women to be at the mercy of men. Logically, it is far safer for a woman to be able to travel by herself than to have to be dependant upon men, strangers or no strangers, for rides.

BITUL TORAH

One way or the other, these children have to get to school. If the wife is not driving them, it will probably end up that the husband would be driving them. In the working Chareidi community in the United States, many of the men are attending shiurim in the morning or at least they are learning some of sort of Seder during these precious morning moments. Causing the men to drive car pool or to bring the children to school will invariably be the cause of Bitul Torah.

THE GEMORAH IN BRACHOS

There is yet another very significant point that the new rule is affecting. The Gemorah in Brachos 17a poses a question as to how the women of Klal Yisroel earn merit. The underlying rationale behind the question is that since women are exempt from the Mtzvah of Talmud Torah, and the merit of that Mitzvah is so extraordinary, how then can women earn a parallel merit to their husbands? The Gemorah answers in that they bring their children to the Bnei Knishta to study.

The repercussions of this new change are that the special merit that was discussed in the Gemorah about how women can receive a super-charged merit akin to the merit of Talmud Torah will be undone. Do we really have a right to undermine the merit discussed in the Gemorah?

V’AHAVTA L’RAYACHA KAMOCHA

A final issue is also relevant. The great leaders of Torah were always looking to make things easier for Klal Yisroel. This is a manifestation of the Torah Mitzvah of v’ahavta l’rayacha kamocha. Thus, we see in the Gemorah in Moed Katan 27b how Rabban Gamliel haZakain, when he saw how Jews were burying their dead in the finest of clothing, declared that plain burial shrouds should be used instead. He did so to make life easier for Klal Yisroel. In Hilchos Shabbos, we see how the great Tzemach Tzedek (of 17th century Poland), cited by the Mogain Avrohom in the beginning of hilchos Shabbos, once ruled (responsa #28) that when local fishermen collude and lift up the price the fish excessively, a prohibition can be levied upon the consumption of fish on Shabbos. It may take a week or two or even three, but eventually the collective buying power of ordinary people would force the price back down. The Tzemach Tzedek did so to make life easier for Klal Yisroel.

This new rule seems to be making things more difficult for both the men and women of that community. There is no question, of course, that Tznius is a very important aspect of our Avodas Hashem. However, all of the above factors must be taken into account – especially when it is highly likely that the “cure” may create an even greater breach of Tznius.

May Hashem guide us all in all our endeavors.

The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com




61 COMMENTS

  1. Something is off with this letter. The Belzer Rebbe is very understanding and practical. It’s very possible the Gabbayim used his signature to do whatever they want.

  2. FYI there are plenty of respected Belzer women who drive.

    Another interesting fact, even in the non-Jewish world, mothers with a few children avoid driving, its simply much safer, vehameivin yovin….

  3. Why knock the almost worldwide Ultra-Chassidic viewpoint on the women and driving issue? We dont have to agree, but being that it doesnt involve abuse, lets allow and support them and their rights. Its a free country, isnt it?

  4. R. Hoffman has missed numerous relevant sources, including from the Gemorah, Shulchan Aruch and Rambam amongst others.

    Shulchan Aruch (EH 73:1): A man must give his wife clothing like women normally wear outside. A woman should not go outside much. The beauty of a woman is to stay inside – “Kol Kevudah…”

    Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 13:11): A man must give his wife clothing like women normally wear outside in order that she can go to her father or a house of mourning or Simchah. She may go to these places to bestow Chesed to her friends and relatives, in order that they will come to her. She is not a prisoner who may not come and go. However, it is degrading for a woman to always be outside and on the streets. A man should prevent his wife from doing so. She should go outside once or twice a month, according to the need. The beauty of a woman is to stay inside – “Kol Kevudah Bas Melech Penimah”.

    Gra (4): Hashem did not create Chavah from Adam’s foot, lest she roam too much (Bereishis Rabah 18:2). “Ishtecha k’Gefen Poriyah” is only when she is modest “b’Yarkesei Veisecha” (Medrash Tehilim 128:3).

    Source (Magid Mishneh): Bereishis Rabah (45:5) says that when the Torah discusses the detriment of women, it says that they go out – ‘Va’Tetzei Dinah”. The Sifri (Tetzei 242 (23)), regarding a Na’arah Me’orasah who was enticed to Zenus, says that a breach (going out in the city) calls to the thief. Bereishis Rabah (8:12) reads “Kivshuha” like ‘Kavshah’ to teach that a husband should prevent his wife from going out too much.

    Kesef Mishneh: A wife must give straw to her husband’s animals, but she need not give water. This is because normally one leaves the house to go to the river or spring for this, and “Kol Kevudah…”

    Teshuvos Maimoniyos (Mishpatim 5): The Gemara (Nazir 12a) says that women are Kevu’os due to “Kol Kevudah.”

  5. Here is a relevant Gemora:

    1. (R. Yochanan): Avner told Do’eg ‘We learned that an Amoni and a Mo’avi are forbidden, but an Amonis and a Mo’avis are not!’
    2. Question (Do’eg): If so, you should say that a Mitzri is forbidden, not a Mitzris!
    3. Answer (Avner): Mo’avim are forbidden “Because they did not go out to greet you with bread and water.” This does not apply to women. It is normal for men to go out to greet, but not for women.
    4. Objection (Do’eg): The men should have gone out to greet the men, and the women to greet the women!
    5. Avner was silent.
    6. Question: How can we answer?
    7. Answer #1 (Chachamim of Bavel): “Kol Kevudah Vas Melech Penimah” (it is dishonorable for women to go outside, even to greet women).
    8. Answer #2 (Chachamim of Eretz Yisrael): We learn this from ” … Where is your wife Sarah?” (It is praiseworthy that she stayed in the tent.)
    9. (Beraisa – R. Yehudah): “Amoni” and “Mo’avi” are forbidden, not Amonis and Mo’avis;
    10. R. Shimon says, “Because they did not go out …” – it is the way of a man …
    11. Nazir 12a (R. Yochanan): If Reuven made a Shali’ach to be Mekadesh an unspecified woman and the agent died, Reuven may not marry any woman (Leah), lest the Shali’ach was Mekadesh Leah’s relative to Reuven.
    12. Question (Reish Lakish): When a Hekdesh bird flies away, we are not concerned about other birds (lest it is the Hekdesh bird; we follow the majority. The same should apply here (most women are not Leah’s relatives)!
    13. Answer (R. Yochanan): Because woman do not roam, the Safek is considered Kavu’a (fixed), so we don’t follow the majority.
    15. Gitin 12a (Beraisa): If a wife was exiled to a refuge city, her husband must feed her. He can tell her to feed herself from her earnings only if she earns enough to feed herself.
    16. Question: If she can earn enough, this is obvious!
    17. Answer: One might have thought that due to “Kol Kevudah…”, she need not work and he must feed her. The Beraisa teaches that this is not so.
    18. Shevu’os 30a – Question: What is the source that (women are invalid witnesses, so) Shevu’as ha’Edus does not apply to women?
    19. Answer (Beraisa): “V’Omdu Shnei ha’Anashim” refers to the witnesses.
    20. Question: Perhaps it refers to the parties in the case!
    21. Answer #1: The Torah would not say “men”, for women also need to come for judgment.
    22. Answer #2: If you prefer, you can learn from “Shnei” (masculine).
    23. Question: What objection might one have to the first answer?
    24. Answer: Normally women do not come to Beis Din for judgment (rather, they send a man to plead their case), due to “Kol Kevudah…”

  6. Why is an analysis even necessary??

    Chassidim have their particular hashkafa & are usually tuned into the world if the 18-19th century, when driving, car pools, doc appts, leisure activities all occurred within walking distance.

  7. “Our institutions in Chutz LaAretz are not “around the corner” as they are in Eretz Yisroel communities.”

    For those living in American urban areas, such as NYC, Brooklyn and other areas where many of the frum communities where women do not drive, in fact most things necessary for daily living are indeed within walking distance.

  8. The preposterous part of this is that when a woman is driving a car, more of her is hidden behind the door than when she is walking in the street shopping. The only thing visible is her head, which is covered. When women go to work to support the men who learn full time, they are much more exposed. There is also a factor that has happened both in the USA and Israel, that sleeping kids have been left in hot cars when men do carpools. Also, is he saying men should leave the shul and study hall or their teaching jobs as Rebbeim, in order to drive carpools morning and afternoon?? When The Torah says, not to deviate Left nor Right, this is an example. It is an attempt to sound “Most Chareidi of Chareidi”, that leads you astray away from what is Yiddishkeit Derech Eretz.

  9. I disagree. Just because something is halachikly ok to do, does not mean the minchag allows it. Halachically speaking the ban against polygamy has expired, but yet Jews do not seem to practice it, not yet at least.

    It has been a long established tradition the Jewish women stay home, while husbands, work, shop, AND learn. Yes, LEARN.

    In fact, one of the reasons given of why women and girls do not light Hanukkah candles, is because it is not modest for a woman to step outside the door to light a candle. Why isn,t this mentioned in this “Halachik Analysis”? As the gemorah says “the honor of a princess is inside her home.” Mesechet Yevamot.
    By allowing and exposing women to the outside environment, more bad is done then good. Families are falling apart, women are losing respect for their husbands, the women are becoming the heads of the household and “providers.”

  10. This is amazing. Especially people bringing lists of sources that a woman is better off indoors – but that’s totally not the issue. Many women who would never drive are yapping on their front lawns, while those who drive have way more Tznius. The point: women need to get around anyway, and for those who can spend the day at home – כל הכבוד!

    The Steipler Z”l answered in a letter to the question if a woman should work, by saying that in days of old a woman was busy for hours doing laundry, making corn-flakes out of korn, salting the chicken and cleaning it from scratch, sewing her children’s clothing etc. etc. but today’s situation is a peril of הבטלה מביאה לידי שעמום ושעמום לידי עבירה

    Of course, the utmost respect for those who see fit to take this step for their Tznius, but please, never look at it like it’s a clear plus and a clear “better than thou” – when it isn’t so…

  11. #10

    Thanks, you couldn’t have said it better!

    #7

    Not so much the Tznious It is because Pritzas “Kol Kvudah Bas Melach Penima”

    #9

    When one goes in and out of the car the knees get naturally exposed..

  12. There is a misconception that the tznius problem of driving is because of inappropriate immodest exposure. That is obviously a preposterous suggestion. That is the flaw in the articles attempted Kal vechomer “There is no question that riding a donkey in public allows for more public exposure than driving a car”.
    The reason why it is lacking in tznius is expressed in the statement made by a womens Belz organisation: “We believe that driving a vehicle is a high pressured activity where our values may be compromised by exposure to selfishness, road-rage, bad language and other inappropriate behaviour”.

  13. With all DUE respect to Rabbi Hoffman, there a difference between riding and DRIVING.(even when riding a donkey or a camel, it makes difference if you are part of a convoy or you are on your own.) and second, every Chasidus or community has a right to it’s own guidelines.it wasn’t necessarily meant Halachacly.

  14. My Rov said it very clearly: A women with a car key behaves differently (in a less Zeniusdige way) than without.
    Also, women with a car often drive round shopping (and spending money) far more than necessary.

    I really think this is an issue between great Rabbonim and not for just any DEOHSUGGER…
    Unfortunately when it comes to Znius issues most frumm and heimishe people simply do not have the full understanding and feeling as is evident from the way heimishe women are dressed.

    Also Rabbi Hoffman failed to address the issue of taking driving lessons with a proste sheigez.
    Perhaps not a problem in NY but clearly an issue elsewhere.

  15. I notice that many people reference Kol Kevudah Bas Melech Penimah, but rarely does anyone bother to continue the quote from Tehillim: ממשבצות זהב לבושה her clothing is woven with gold. Not black, not in somber clothing that would keep her in the shadows but in gold which is synonymous with brightness and light! Just saying if we are so enamored with the first half we should give some credence to the second half as well. Not sure how men can keep this chasidic stay at home 18th century woman thing going but for sure don’t allow them to drive! And of course make sure you have running water in your homes so they don’t have to venture out to a well to draw water. Remember what happened to Rivka (one of our אמהות) when she did that!

  16. 1) I don’t understand why all these Chareidi haters are getting all worked up. Here in Williamsburg the local women don’t drive – period. And that’s all Chassidus’s, not just Belz. Everything is fine and good. The women here are much happier than from some of those other communities. No one is “going off the derech” because of this “restriction”. Totally ridiculous claim.

    2) If you’re not a Belzer Chossid, what’s it your concern what their Minhagim & Hashkafos are? Its just plain hate from you MO’s & OTD’s.

    3) In todays declining decadent society, with all the filth & perversion that’s shoved in our face on a daily basis, this a breath of fresh air WHICH SHOULD BE COMMENDED! Preserving the semblance of KEDUSHA in our Machane should be all of ours number one priority!

  17. Rabbi Hoffman, I hope you read these comments and revel in the monster we have become which you helped create. Think log and hard next time you decide to protect every nonsensical backwards custom these small people have created because you will lose control of the monster as is clearly demonstrated here.

  18. the belzer rebbe is not asking the ladies of the 5 towns not to drive. he is talking to his khilla. everyone understands today when you register your child and they ask you if you have internet filters do you also get so worked up? every school is allowed to put the rules what they want.

    i think before you come out with your daas torah you should address to who you are giving it to. It almost seems like he is becoming the posek hador he always knows better than poskim from just yesterday.

  19. I never read such dumb comments
    As for the rebbas. They asrd living. What they believe yiddishkeit was when there geeT grand fathers where alive. Only they never meg him So they make up chumrahs that never existed. See they didn’t gave cars
    Only dinky a and horses

  20. This is simply a minhag with questionable halachic mekoros at best. For most communities, where it is the norm for women to do errands and work, such a minhag is outdated, inappropriate, and arguably can lead to more tznius issues (walking in public, taking public transportation, etc…)

    I can’t relate to Chassidc communities where these minhagim are in place, but I have to assume that it’s perfectly appropriate for them.

  21. Dear Rabbi Hoffman

    I am not clear who this was directed to. The five towns is generally not relevant for a hidur of this sort. Are you trying to challenge the Belzer Rebbe Shlita? Agav, I am not a belzer, my wife drives, too.

    Why not question the poskim which assur sheitlach, including R Ovadia Yosef Zt’l, or any other perceived chumras?

    The gdolim and poskim who view ladies driving as a breach of tznius know all the mekoros quoted, and they have vast shimush chachomim of the previous generation, including the ahavas yisroel and mesirus nefesh to help other yiden and never to burden them. Talking about Belz, R Ahron M’Belz Zt’l once nearly choked to death during a tish but somehow refrained from calling a dr. until later so that “yidden shouldn’t be DISTURBED on Shabbos”.

    So again, which audience is being addressed? Aren’t you trying to be mechazek yedei osei mitzvah? gosh!

  22. I’m really hoping I do not have to give up my CDL. It was a dream I had at 17 when I got my drivers license and 5 years later that dream came true.

  23. I am amazed at the hypocracy here, When Efrat wants a certain Rabbi people are more than willing to tell them NO even though they dont live there because they dont like some of his hashgafas, and yet when people complain about Chassidish Rebbes doing something they dont agree with others said, Ellu V Ellu

    Yet Efrat and other modern communities are not allowed to be Ellau V Ellau

  24. Although I drive, and I do relish this privilege, as I learned to drive when I was a mature adult (not a youngster), and a mother of a large family, I can be dan l’kaf zchus perhaps those who promote and adhere to the Minhag of women not driving, are truly in the spirit of making women’s lives easier. Remember, privileges come with responsibilities.

  25. Some articles were posted just to rile people up to say disrespectful things about rabbanim. I didn’t even read the article yet, I just saw the title and the number of comments.

  26. I read the article and some of the comments and am impressed at Rabbi Hoffman’s foresight requesting only intelligent answers. The need for such a request is clearly visible to anyone perusing the comments. However,I think everyone missed the point. It has nothing to do with being exposed on the street. As kids, we wanted or licenses so as not to have to go everywhere with our parents. With a license, the world was wide open. The poskim who recommend a woman not driving are trying to prevent her having an independent life outside of her marriage, an issue obvious to anyone observing the skyrocketing divorce rates among the frum community. This is also the reason people react so emotionally to the suggestion not to drive. They aren’t worried about going to the grocery store; they don’t want to give up their independence. Driving is one piece of a bigger picture, and looking at it on it’s own is going to make it look ridiculous, if applied in an inappropriate context. For this reason, this article is not applicable to the Five Towns community.

  27. Chachom: when the fools put keys in their bread instead of saying fools stop being so foolish he pats them on the back and says keep going. Well they kept going. There are many such examples.

  28. To dlkanoi you couldnt have said something stupider than that what about when the ladies are going around the clock in taxis with the biggest pigs intown there are many stories… There is no question from all angles it is better for a lady to drive chazal have a klal poik chazei may ama davar and most frume ladies drive.

  29. The five towns is generally not relevant for a hidur of this sort.

    I am extremely skeptical that this is a hiddur at all.

    The Wolf

  30. “Kol Kevudah…”

    That pasuk is referring to a non-Jewish woman (a princess from Tyre) marrying a Jewish King (possibly Shlomo HaMelech, although it is not obvious from the pshat). She would certainly have been immediately taken to his large harem and would never again be allowed outside unescorted.

    I don’t think that this is a model for 21st century Judaism. Or any century.

  31. dlkanoi, not every driving instructor is a “proste sheigez.” My wife and I were the primary driving instructors for our daughters. As others have pointed out, many taxi drivers fit your epithet. And what about the guys who enter Jewish homes to deliver groceries?

    besalel, I have no idea what you’re talking about in either of your comments.

    There are places where a car is almost a necessity. Years ago, Satmar attempted to form a community in Bayswater. For various reasons, they never achieved the numbers that would have made it practical for them to have everything they needed in walking distance. That led to the failure of the “settlement” because Satmar women don’t drive.

    Given the density of Chassidish neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the lack of parking spaces, it’s a good thing that the women don’t drive — otherwise there would be even more cars.

  32. I love the article and many comments written here. I like the referrences pple are making to text.
    That being said:
    #1 I second that
    #2 Your totally ignorant.

    I went to ask my rav here in eretz a few yrs ago that I want my husband to drive me since I work crazy hours at night and am forced to drive back from all ends of israel either with a male driver or a woman cab driver. the women cab drivers were triple the price and were very not tznius; most of them. they would join me at my business sessions (whatever it is) and would be a nuisance for those that hired me. My rav referred to a tshuva my own husbands grandfather as a posek wrote in which he writes; that if the husband is learning it is preferrable that the woman drives with gedarim. So I drew gedarim up ; one being what rabbi hoffman refers to as rav eliayashivs; not driving in areas that it is unacceptable. I also make sure to do it in a way that doesn’t look too cool for a woman…. and my husband ends up being totally uninvolved and can learn calmly. And we are not litvish nor are we chabad… the tshuva came from a very well respected posek a generation back.

  33. In today’s times people lose the perspective of the big picture. Women not driving keeps them on the streets and exposed to all. I think it is more tzanua if they drive.

    Another e.g. is the fellow who came to me to be “moche” because he thought I had a non kosher phone. I told him that it is a bigger chutzpah for people to talk in shul or yawn without covering their mouths & he should be moche there before looking for people with non-kosher phones.

  34. You are missing the point : the school run in London is a horrendous , stressful journey and one which we should exempt our wives from having to endure. Furthermore, it presents valuable time for the father to interact with his children. Taking our kids to school is part of our obligation to educate our children and one which should not be relegated to our wives.

  35. Remember that you are dealing with people who believe that women should shave their heads to make sure that the don’t stray. So they believe women shouldn’t drive, ok. Whatever works for them. B”H i wasn’t raised this way.

  36. in the same vein as #17
    A Choshive Rosh Yeshiva once told me, “Better I should drive even though I am thinking in learning than to let my wife drive.”

  37. I think the Belzer Rebbe should ban YeshivaWorld News. These comments show Sinas Yisrael. They bash Modern Orthodoxy at every opportunity, The comments show lack of Kavod Larav to a rav who I wouldn’t call modern. I read his column against charedim going into the army. I decided to be machmir and not read this website anymore.

  38. To me, the most important part of the question of women driving is control. I feel that men often confuse tznius with control. Instead of being a question of enabling a woman’s avodas hashem it becomes a question of how can we maximize male comtrol over female behavior. I for one am ambivalent about the former idea and abhor the latter. JMHO. Take it or leave it.

  39. #17 and #47. Sorry, but it’s common knowledge that women are better drivers (overall) than men. That’s why their insurance rates are lower than are the rates for men.
    It has become customary for many Chasidishe mosdos worldwide not to accept students whose mothers drive. Why, however, was there a need to send out this stupid letter which was apparently leaked to the press and has led to all this negative publicity?

  40. I think the only comment worth reading is from bubby b. I don’t know about how much the men in belz try to control the women but I do know that all the belzer women whom I have ever met all seem to be happy. Obviously there are exceptions but in general the belzer women seem very well taken care of.

    Also reading the comments this is the first time I’ve heard that the women shave to stop them from straying. In fact I heard that they shave because at a certain time in Europe there was a law that the king had to have relations with every woman on her wedding day, before the woman got to be with her husband. The chassidus told the women to shave so that hopefully the king would be too turned off to be with her.

  41. #50 the letter was probably leaked by someone in the community who did not like the policy and sent it to a well known blog for its anti-religious views.

    Regardless of what is said publically I am sure some did not like the policy privately and did not know how else to show their dismay at the policy without getting thrown out of the community

  42. In Eretz Yisroel all of the frum, including the Litvish, (except the modern/zionists) do not permit women to drive. That is the general rule.

  43. For those citing the gemaros of kol kevuda, none of those Gemaros are discussing driving. And as a statement of tznius ideal, it is no longer the case in any chassidish community that women only leave the home once or twice a month. Not allowing driving doesn’t change that.

    I don’t know why Belz or any other Chassidus bans women driving. I am sure they have reasons, and I am certainly not in the place to question them. But halachically there is no basis for instituting a such a ban.

    Charliehall, the pashut pshat in the posuk isn’t really relevant. Chazal understood the posuk to be saying something about how families should conduct themselves and citations to the posuk above are to Chazal’s understanding of the posuk, not to the pashut pshat.

  44. Disgusting that someone would tell an entire gender they cannot drive and others believe they should only go outside once or twice a month and call it tzniyut

  45. JUST TO CLARIFY A POINT: When reading articles by Rav Hoffman one must realize that he is the author of several Halachic books in English. Thus Halachah is his area of interest. It is logical that whenever he sees an issue that is halachic oriented he’ll take interest and delve into the topic. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Furthermore, to my knowledge, he does not overstep his boundaries, such as in this case where he merely is questioning their ruling from a halachic stand point. He no where in the article states that people should contest their ruling. At best, perhaps he is sending a message to reconsider their ruling.

    I advise not to get too heated up over his articles, but rather use them as a springboard to delving into the issues instead of merely stating non-halachic based opinions.

  46. To all those making references to another article on YWN:

    I think it would be more appropriate to raise your question of being two faced over in those articles than to bring it up over here. This is not the place for it.

    ..and to the few that are claiming discrimination, I think you need to be a little less quick to judge. All too often people take an attack on an “individual” and blow it out of proportion to being all inclusive of a “community”. That’s not fair. Most commentators on this website distinguish between individuals and communities. To suggest otherwise is in itself discrimination.

  47. benignuman 57: Yet it is best we strive to get as close to the tznius ideal cited in the Shulchan Aruch and Rambam as possible, even if we can’t actually get to the best ideal suggested. Driving would certainly cause them to be out of the home much more often than if they don’t drive.

    So without doubt there is a strong halachic basis for this. At least if you consider the Shulchan Aruch and Rambam to be arbiters of halacha.

    adame 58: You’re effectively calling r’l the S”A and Rambam by that epithet you used.