Where are the women?

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    We are witnessing an unprecedented chillul Hashem, the likes of which have not been seen in our lifetimes.
    In the USA, Europe and Israel, the Frum community are as one, ignoring government guidance and have seen infection rates much higher than the surrounding population.
    We have brought on a situation of ‘zu Torah, vzu schoroh?’ through our own ignorance and stupidity, why should we expect Hashem to give us even an ounce of Hashgacha?
    And yet, it seems to be only the men who are leading the riots. Men who are pictured not wearing masks. Men who prattle endlessly about ‘religious freedoms’ during a time of international catastrophe.
    Maybe now is the time for the women of the Frum community to stand up, and declare ‘Husbands, sons, Rabbonim, we’ve had enough. Put your mask on, be quiet and take some responsibility.’
    In normal times maybe this would be a breach of tznius, but now, perhaps it’s our last hope?


    The government statistics are internally incoherent since they base them on people tested (a non-random population) rather than people infected (as revealed by random testing including antibody testing). The government lied from the beginning claiming that most persons infected by Covid would be become seriously ill and several percent would die, whereas in facts over 90% of those infected don’t get sick, and the death rate of those infected is in tenths of a percent and in fact represents only a tiny “blip” compared to the overall death rate (in part since Covid19 kills mostly old people or those already quite ill). In real epidemics, such as smallpox in a new population, death rates would be in the tens of percents, everyone would get sick, and children would be the most vulnerable – a “plague” that doesn’t cause illness for most people and kills only the elderly is not a social threat. The shutdowns and closures were and are a mistake, and we are right to suspect ulterior motives.

    The government in “blue” states do not believe their own propaganda since they routinely allow their supporters to gather without masks or social distancing (note: these are the people they would least want to die), while at the same time striking a blow against religions whom they have for a long time regarded as mortal enemies. It should also be noted that the frum community is much less likely than the general population to be affected since we are radically younger, not to mention that the age group most at risk from Covid19 are those who are older than “boomers” (i.e. those born after World War II, which in our community is an age group that is still artificially reduced due to high mortality among Jewish children during the period preceding 1945). Some frum media have unwisely “bought” the false narrative put out by the hyper-secular liberal media.

    And why do you see relatively few frum women protesting? In our community, large, noisy and potentially violent protests are not seen as a place for women. If you don’t realize that, you really don’t understand the sociology of the frum community.


    “the death rate of those infected is in tenths of a percent”

    Wrong. Dead wrong. The death rate is more like 3%. That would mean ten million dead Americans if we continue to act irresponsibly.


    Some of us are silently taking care of our families at home, as well as going out when it’s needed, because we don’t have to shave our beards to fit a KN95 🙂

    COVID-19 is real, is airborne, and if it is a blessing, I am happy to let other people “enjoy” it. I do not think it is in my interest to get infected.


    I’m sorry, but it would be a strong lack of kavod hatorah for ANYONE (man or woman) to speak to a rabbi like that. Most of the rabonim have been careful about the guidelines too. Furthermore, I would hope most wives wouldn’t talk to their husbands like that. There’s a nicer way to communicate to your spouse without admonishing them.

    And I wouldn’t call the demonstrations in Brooklyn “riots.” It was all peaceful besides for one horrible incident. While I agree that not listening to the rules like that could be a big chillul Hashem, and therefore, this should’ve been handled differently, you must admit that a random rule for SPECIFICALLY houses of worship limiting it to 10 people is ridiculous. Let’s say it’s a building that can hold hundreds of people. Why should that be treated the same as a shteeble? And why if that same building were a business instead of a shul should the rules be any different!? So, my point is, while I agree it should be taken care of differently, you can’t blame the frum community from being upset when these rules have no rhyme or reason to it.

    Back to the topic of frum women, most of them aren’t on the streets protesting PRECISELY because it’d be a lack of tzniyus to do so. I’d bet that most of them agree with their husband’s opinion, though.


    No one really knows the death rate, because the epidemic is too recent. In 5 years, or 10 years, we can talk about mortality, or should I say, survival rate. For the time being, all we can say is that there are already a large number of deceased victims and that the epidemic is ongoing.


    That would be a nice explanation if it were only Frum Jews in NY not following the guidelines.
    But it isn’t. It’s in the UK and Israel as well, where there have not been major instances of seeming discrimination against the Frum community on the whole, and yet there seems to be a similar amount of disrespect for authority and disregard for rules.
    Even if the theories about COVID being overblown are correct (unlikely…people’s memories seem to be exceptionally short, it was only 4 months ago we were losing dozens of relatively young members of our own community – since when does Flu do this at Purim time on a normal year?), why is it that the Frum communities in multiple countries feel the need to take it upon themselves to prove that it isn’t a big deal?
    What happened to keeping our heads down and trying to blend in as best we can?


    Surely you mean well, but
    1. You don’t know for a fact that we have witnessed higher infection rates, nor are you taking into account larger family densities than liHavdil the gentiles, which would explain that alleged higher rate. But that allegedly higher rate is anyways false. It’s also irrelevant because you have to know on what it is based. For example, if only sick people get tested, then the rate will obviously be higher than other places where healthy people are being tested. Etc.
    2. You should not make false blanket statements claiming that we haven’t followed the government’s rules. In my shul, and others in which I have davened, everyone is strict about wearing masks.
    3. You also don’t know if the government’s science is sound or mistaken. There are plenty of videos from people with degrees and experience in these areas who say that masks don’t help. Back in March, I think even Dr. Fauci himself said so, if I recall. The virus, in my understanding, is way smaller than the tiny holes in the mask, so a mask is, essentially, no better than breathing through a mesh screen door, though it might be better than nothing.
    4. With all due respect, unless you learned in Seminary or elsewhere the halachos and parameters of Chilul Hashem, then I would not be so quick to label this a Chilul Hashem, even without the above three points, and potentially create an actual Chilul Hashem of giving up on Tznius, etc. to try to effect change in this matter. Even if you do know the halachos, though, your keeping tznius will surely accomplish much more than anything you could do by violating that.

    besod emuna

    The women aren’t wearing masks any more than the men. And the men wouldn’t let their wives boss them around, anyways.


    Surely you mean well, but masks block tiny particulate not according to your comparison with a colander or chicken wire, but because the material of modern masks (electret) electrostatically attracts nanodust which is captured and bound to the fibers. This is why Chinese KN95 work awesome and “community made” reusable cotton masks are not as effective.


    Why should women be forced to inforce a time bound mitzvah?

    Does your wife inforce zmanim so you don’t miss the time?

    Also is this something really needed? What has your Rav said regarding this?


    “There are plenty of videos from people with degrees and experience in these areas who say that masks don’t help.”

    Are there specific reputable sources for this? You’re not the first one to reference numerous unnamed supposed experts, but somehow it never seems to get more specific than that.


    “We are witnessing an unprecedented chillul Hashem…”

    The entire city, if not the whole country, is looking at the orthodox community and wondering why and how it justifies exempting itself from emergency rules of general applicability designed to protect all people during a pandemic. Because we are dealing with a community whose outlook on life is dictated by the Torah, the assumption is that this widespread breach of derech eretz and disregard for other people lies in some interpretation of the Torah that escapes everyone else. If that is not a chillul Hashem, then what is.


    I don’t know what’s been going on in other places. However, as Hakatan pointed out, there are plenty of frum people being careful. My yeshiva, for example, installed plexiglass in between every seat, and the person across from you is distanced 6 feet apart.

    Also, I’m not sure what exactly you’re suggesting frum women do. Mimonovshoch: If you’re suggesting that women privately at home tell their husbands and sons (I’ll presume you mean in a nice way) to be more compliant, then I don’t see why you would consider that to be a lack of tzniyus. If you’re suggesting they go out in the streets and have some kind of counter-protest, then I’d say you’d need an halachic authority to decide whether or not it’s proper to be over on tzniyus to avoid a chillul Hashem. If the halachah is that it’s assur for women to act that way, then we would know for a 100% fact that Hashem doesn’t want them to do that.

    Amil Zola

    They’re too busy having cat fights on Imamother.


    @hakatan, today’s Daf Yomi Eruvin – if you see something against Torah, esp Hillul Hashem –
    you need to act and not to defer until a more senior person issues a psak. [contrasting with the usual case that you do not issue psak in front your Rav]


    @Hakatan re: questioning that someone who witnessed Hillul Hashem can call it as such without having a smicha.

    I heard directly from a community Rav who stopped a black-hat person on shabbat without a mask and explained to him that this is Hillul Hashem. The person replied that whose who want to avoid him are free to walk around.


    Your recent posts are somewhat ironic given your screen name.
    My post clearly delineated multiple reasons why wearing a mask or not doing so do not carry halachic implications including Chilul Hashem.

    I would be interested to know to which Rav you refer, or at least in which Yeshiva he learned and how long ago, etc. But that’s not really relevant, anyways, I guess.


    “Those who want to avoid him are free to walk around”
    What a smart reply. At least, it would be if we didn’t all breathe the same air. Reminds me of someone drilling a hole in the ship hull, but doing so strictly under his seat.


    Surely you know that those two situations are not even remotely comparable.


    Do you mean scientifically or Torah?
    Scientifically, yes they are not even remotely comparable. Any modern boat, let alone a ship, can’t be sunk by an individual who keeps drilling holes for the entire duration of the voyage, not even if he is given a power drill, not even if bilge pumps should fail. On the other hand, any person who has been infected (perhaps doesn’t even know that) and feels OK is spreading about 150 virus particles with every single breath.
    Torah: I don’t presume to comment given that I am a woman, but I know for sure that when eventually I will face questioning, I will be able to say I have done my best to cull this evil disease and not catch it / spread it further.


    Mazel tov. So now the public face of covid denial in the United States has morphed to include armed white supremacist militias dressed in camouflage vests claiming that mask and distancing laws violate their right to get infected and infect others along along with the Tischler wing of the Chareidi tzibur in the NYC metro area dressed in yeshivish lvush who burn masks and dumpsters and scream Naziiiis at local police and first responders.

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