Forum Replies Created
Joseph: This will be my last post, bringing our conversation to an end. Let me just say that you have convinced me that the issue of women’s tznius is a deep concern of yours, as it should be every Jew’s.
I can hear that people like you may feel helpless in this regard, especially since many other men are not taking care of their own bnei bayis, and all men (and all women as well) are the unwitting victims. I continue to maintain that the “fight” must be fought with wisdom and gentle words, with an eye towards effectiveness, and not through insensitivity and the like.
I remember reading a letter to the editor in a women’s magazine (Binah) last year. (I don’t remember evreything exactly, but this is the gist of it.) It was written by a yungerman from Lakewood, I think. He began the letter, “Dear bnos chashuvos,holy daughters and woman of our community…” or something thereof, displaying tremendous respect and admiration to those he was adressing. He started off by expressing his appreciation for all women stand for etc., He then went on to recount a personal story where he went to the store and a woman reached to get something and inadvertantly exposed what should have been covered…” To make a long story short, his letter was so sincere, so heartfelt and most importantly, so bachovadik…He begged and pleaded with the women to realize what they were doing, how they were inadvertantly but surely causing men to be nichashal, against their will…etc. He ended with brochos to them, and again pleading for them to take it to heart.
Personally, I thought the writer was overdoing it. Why was it so necessary to take such pains to write like that, just tell it like it is! But I can tell you, Joseph, that the response to that letter were overwhelming. Women wrote that they had never realized what they were doing and how they resolved to be more careful in the future…That is the approach that works (imho!) and perhaps it is something like that that you and others like you can do.
Once again, it was a pleasure. Keep up your conviction and integrity in this confusing world we share. And may we all be zoche to restore hashem’s shechina in our midst.
To all of you out there, its been nice meeting you and sharing ideas. Hatzacha to all, and my opologese if I have offended anyone.
Rabbi of berlin
It is fascinating to me that you keep asserting that you and I are saying similar things and in fact I am echoing things you say, but just don’t want to admit it. Somehow you are relating to my words, but I am not relating to yours. It is a mystery to me, and we’ll have to leave it at that because I will not be posting here any longer after today..
Just allow me to answer your comments: regarding the “chassidiste”, she was off her mind, and it wasn’t just a different derech. I am not one who is intolerable of other peoples derachim. Otherwise, I have never met any of his other tens of thousands of chassidim, so i have no way to judge. But i still maintain that any true BT goes through many teachers and rabbonim in their journey to yiddishkeit.
Finally, I keep asking you why you started this blog, what you were hoping to accomplish. You don’t want people to judge him, etc. No one was judging him. We are not sitting in our homes blasting him. We simply have nothing with him. (I talk for myself, of course)
I’m sure he was a very fine Jew. We do not HAVE to consider him a tzaddik, do we? If our gedolim would refer to him as a tzaddik, I would accept that although his actions were strange, I don’t really understand things as they appear to be. But why should I consider him a tzaddik otherwise, when his actions seem incomprehensible to me (as far as halacha goes).
The thing that’s going on here is that you want so badly that EVERYONE should recognise that your REBBE was a true tzaddik, just misunderstood. Dear rabbi of Berlin, I will need more than your say-so to go and worship his memory. Is that acceptable to you?
cantoresq, I’m sorry to you too that you took offense. Read rabbi’s post to see in what context he said it and in that context I replied.
ujm: you seem to have a knack for saying really insulting comments. It is not becoming of you.
If I were to be able to create a curriculum , I would NOT add more “home ec” skills. I knew nothing in that department, and I managed just fine. That is something a mother can easily teach her child (sewing on a button, a hem, etc. ) Many years ago, it was more common to sew your own clothes, so there was apoint in learning to sew. Today, clothing is so cheap, that those who sew their kids clothes do not do it for economic reasons, just for hobby. Cooking also is something so easily learned. When i was in school we had a “baking class” once in a while. It was basically a free period for anyone who wasnt interested in making rice krispy treats.
What I would think is important is more emphasis on human relationships and healthy communication skills. Those are the things that really matter in life. How to treat parents, friends, siblings, how to compromise, etc. Yet, we expect them to pick up on these things through osmosis, and sadly, it works all too well!
As a teacher, I try to emphasize whatever mussar I can, but it isnt always easy if you need to cover ground and follow a text. If the subject can be something like, middos, through the prism of the Torah, that would be something…
(and btw, I believe that on the side of the boys chinuch, this is greatly lacking as well)
just one question: would you rather the little kids running around in shul or out (where they are unsupervised) or sitting in your seat?
kollelwife, if you were addressing me, I might tell you that I was b”h never told that my tznius was “questionable” in the slightest, so I am not “defending myself”, as you put it. I am actually talking from the perspective as a teacher of high school girls. It seems like you probably werent following the conversation, but your point was adressed, and I do agree with the fact that it is partially a man’s issue for the reason you stated, plus others, but not completely. The point I was bringing out is how to maximize effectiveness in this issue, which in my opinion is NOT to have men give the mussar. (this topic was also covered in the bungalow colony blog and the how to increase tznius blog)
okay, I hear your point, anon. I just never considered the word to have any negative connotations, just as a descriptive word. But I guess it assaults some ppls sensibilities. thank you
I forgot to comment on the last paragraph.
Perhaps you’re right that we basically are not disagreeing in essense. However, even if you feel that the oilam on this site is maliciously violating tznius, or blissfully unaware, how do you think your comments will help them?
It is my opinion btw, that people in general do not consider themselves bad, or malicious. Just misunderstood. If you approach them with that thought in mind, it might be easier to effect a meeting of the minds, which again, will enable you to be more effective in getting a message across. The key word here is effectiveness.
Firstly, thanks for clarifying your comparison of kollel to tznius. In my experience, however, even those that profess to support a kollel lifestyle are sometimes lacking in their tznius. It is a very, VERY challenging nisayon. And that is partly why I’ve been going on so long about this with you. If you cannot appreciate the struggle involved, you cannot begin to understand how to approach an effective solution.
It is not for nothing that major organizations have been forming lately to address this issue (bnos melochim, to name one). When I was in school, I don’t remember any major campaign to boost the tznius level. Today, practically every Bais yaakov school out there is employing some kind of Tznius campaign. You see books, signs, and films on the subject all over the place. This tells you two things: 1. that the tznius level has drastically deteriorated lately, and 2. as a logical conclusion to 1, that this is a major nsayon for people today.
So therefor when people are resistant to improving their tznius (including perhaps some of the posters on this blog) it is their great nisayon talking–respect that. Understand them first, and then perhaps you will be able to help them. It is clear that you dont begin to understand them. It is simply NOT HELPFUL to take the approach you take. If you really are concerned with klal yisroel’s Tznius, you may want to ask yourself if ANYBODY will improve their tznius when you say things like, “If a woman dresses like a provocative zoinah, that is not someone who is proud of herself”, to quote you.
Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I wonder if you really believe what you say when you say that these thoughts stem from the thoughts of Rabbonim. Tell me, have you ever actually discussed with your rav if your approach is the correct one? If is a helpful one? It is hard for me to imagine that the rabbonim are as clueless about womans relationship with tznius as you are. (and I dont mean this negatively at all. There really is no reason why you SHOULD necessarily understand this issue. You are a male, and you obviously dont work in this field..)
I feel over these last few days that I have given you several valid reasons why it is NOT the way to go, namely, and most importantly because it is not effective, because much of it is something that needs to be internalized, and thirdly, coming with the bit of experience that I do have, women and girls just simply tick differently, and in this highly sensitive topic, a man just won’t do the trick. (Imagine for a moment a choshuv rebbetzin giving yeshiva guys a lecture on bitul torah or another male-oriented topic). I don’t know if you have daughters, but if you do, you may want to learn a bit what their world is like.
Again, men certainly need to be involved in their families tznius and all, but to assert that it is any mans job to give tochacha to another woman is in my opinion unwise, untznius’dik and totally counter-productive in many cases. Please do yourself a favor and double-check this with your rebbe or mentor.
Before i sign off for the night (and this is my last night here), perhaps you can satisfy my curiosity. It is interesting to me how cut and dry you are in regards to many issues, especially the tznius/tochacha issue. Though we agreed on many other topics, on this one we were a bit at loggerheads despite the fact that we are both professing to talk in the name of tznius.
Do you mind telling me why this issue is such a burning one for you (or so it seems) ? (For me it is obvious, as I work with these issues on a daily basis as part of my job…)
Your letter was very beautiful and sensitive. Thank you.
I wish you much hatzlacha in raising your children along the proper derech.
I would just like to point out to you that the words “goyim” and “shvartze” actually are not negative words, like kike and nigger.
“Shvartze” actually just means black. That is their skin color, and unless you hava an issue with “black” (as opposed to the politically more correct usage, African American) you should have no issue with black. If I can be called white, why cannot they be called black? In the normal usage, it is not derogatory.
Same with goyim. Goy literally means nation. The jewish nation is also in some places in the torah called a “goy” (in birchos bilaam, “ubagoyim lo yischashov”…goy echad ba’aretz). Goyim usually refers to gentiles. It is not negative to say one is a gentile, or a non-jew. And in no way does that imply that all goyim are bad and evil. I don’t know why you are sensitive about it, but often-times if one knows that the person who used the word intended nothing bad by it, it helps in not being offended by it.
I am not going to say that this kind of music is ideal. Music is a complex subject about which much has been discussed among the gedolei mussar. Music affects your neshama, that’s for sure, and so some will go so far as to say that even composers like those you mentioned, their neshomos went into their music, and it affects yours if you listen…(I have certainly heard that in regard to Yanni)
But i want to give you a perspective to consider, and if you don’t like it, just chuck it. abcd mentioned the big event. Lipa was recently interviewed and he made a point that I thought was interesting. He said, (something to this effect) “people nowadays want what’s new. I am giving them what they want. It doesn’t make sense to deny them that because they will just go somewhere else for it.”
While I definitely see that that line of reasoning is basically being metaher the tamey, and excusing themselves for it, the fact is that many young people struggle with the nisayon of listening to non-jewish music, which is infinitely worse (imho) than shwekey or mbd. If you give them kosher (or at least “jewish” entertainment that has beat, that will get them dancing to jewish words rather than non-jewish words, I would think there is merit in producing these albums.
Having said that, if you think or feel that listening to these albums effects your neshama badly, dont listen to them.
btw, how many of you out there do not listen to Shwekey??August 14, 2008 1:42 am at 1:42 am in reply to: The greatest financial supporter of Torah Jewry in the world #634093
ok, so lets drop it…
gavra at work:
In regards to the issue of the story of R’ Shach zt”l, I was thinking that even for a man to ask a question in learning (out of the beis medrash) would be a bit funny, but I decided to stick to the specific case, (I didn’t want to get myself into trouble here). But thanks for making the point I didn’t, so kal vechomer, it is inapropriate for girls!
but your last point, “(I would not blame the girls in this case as their “teacher” (probably the sort who says that you are eating Traife if you don’t have two sinks) told them this was the right thing to do, instead of the teacher asking her Rebbe or husband.)” I think is neither here nor there. you have no reason or basis to make such an assumption. In all probability, it was NOT their teacher who told them to do this, at least I hope not. why do you assume a teacher advise them to do such a foolish thing?
If anybody on this website is in that position, ie. you are a female who davens on the train among all the tumah, feel free to ask your local orthodox Rabbi if there is a problem with it. Yeshiva guy, you’d probably be best off keeping your eye on that daf.
joseph, and postsemgirl:
Yes the issue with styles, especially the fact that they come from pruste designers in paris, whose main goal is to get you to look as attracting as possible, is definitely a problem. Why people want to follow trends is part of their yetzer hara, I guess, similar to the yetzer hara to keep up the jonses or to talk loshon hara. But it is nevertheless a fact of life and comes from an underlying root (low self image?)
Incidentally, I feel that the male side of the population has the same issue, just not as obvious. In the little leeway a yeshiva guy has, you might find him following the trend too: his glasses, his tie, belt, shoes…even the hat you wear is different from the one they wore 20 years ago.
You joseph are not a style guy, and I dont know your wife, but I will assume that she is not into styles either. (I am not either, btw) But the fact that it exists should not be shoved under the carpet. It must be dealt with effectively. Advocating an extreme approach is usually not effective.
One more thing, in regards to your earlier comment that sometimes one must be told off if one is not tznius’dik, dealing with the symptom instead of the root cause:
The way i see it there are two ways to get someone to do what you want him/her to do. By Discipline or by Education.
By discipline, I mean, put someone in their place, force them to do what you want, put the kid in time-out, etc.
Education is when you actually teach the child right from wrong at a time when he/she is able to hear and not be on the defensive.
Discipline is a necessary tool, when for ex. a child is disruptive or out of control. But when I discipline, I am not really teaching my child anything. And I don’t want to be disciplining forever. I would rather educate. When you educate, you are imparting values that, when the child is independant, he will want to keep as his own.
This is chinuch.
To connect this to our discussion, Tznius is a mitzva that needs to be taught and instilled into our children, so that when they leave the “confining parameters” of home and school, they will not want to throw it off. But when we criticize an offender, we are merely disciplining, and not teaching. And that is the sort of discipline that if done in an insensitive way, may severly backfire.
ok, rabbi of Berlin, you got me. I will reply to your outrageous post, and hope that I am not violating my priciples.
first: Yes, I did meet one of “reb” shloimeles chassidim. You cannot judge one and say that is how they all are, but since you asked,.. she was “toit meshuga”. In fact I spent a whole shabbos with her. Totally not in her right mind.
Next, “there is not a scintilla of evidence that other rabbonim were involved”…what did you do, take a survey?? “not a scintilla of evidence??” Additionally, as any BT will tell you, there is a journey, a process to becoming frum, and yes that will most often include other rabbonim. So if your rebbe really did rope people in, surely you are not suggesting he taught them everything alone?!? So that whole line of reasoning is just rediculous.
Of course one may sing his songs, why not? You can also sing any pop star’s song if you want, its not assur. I enjoy his songs too. But does that make him into tzaddik??
but this takes the cake: “.The oilam hayeshivas is so intoxicated with their own self-rigthousness that they cannot see anything good in other people. It is their way or the highway” we are not saying we dont see any good in him. But we are not saying he was a tzaddik. If we have an issue a person who flouts halacha befarhesia, we are self reighteous??
To say “they are jealous of his success” is beyond ludicrous. Why aren’t we jealous of the success of Amnon Yitzchak, who certainly brought yiddishkeit to at least as many jews that you claim shloime did?
He was the greatest ohev yisroel? I will agree that he loved jews. But we have a Torah and we have halacha and “love does not conquer all”. We have gedarim on that love as well. Reb Aryeh levine, , the tzaddik of jerusalem, to take as an example, loved jews. All jews. He went to visit people in jails. Reb Dovid Grossman loves Jews, all jews. They are MY role models of chessed and ahavas yisroel.
You want to know why people criticize and attack. I want to tell you that you were asking for it, big time. you have only yourself to blame for this.
No, I am not judging or “suggesting” which way is more in the right or authentic. I was merely pointing out to Zalman that he was accusing mariner for feeling inauthentic, when it was clear to me that HE was saying that he was the authentic one – based on his logic that the litvish derech was the original one, while “chassidus” was the “breakaway derech”. It is not my place to judge. I have maintained since the beginning of this blog that if one follows his minhag and Rabbonim, he is in his own right.
And yes, it is certainly a credit to chassidim for maintaining their dress, and it is also a credit to litvaks for giving up their dress (the yiddish tzurah) and defer to the wisdom of their poskim. (If you think me crazy for paralleling the two, consider the case of the time when Rabbi yisroel Salanter paskened that no one may fast on yom kippur due to the plague. I’m sure it was diffivult to give up such an awesome mitzva, but they did it because the Rav paskened like that.)
Tzippi, that was a very good point that i didnt think of. the main reason I think Joseph is having a problem with this is because he’s a man, and I wonder if Joseph’s cluelessness about the innate nature of women is limited to a few like him or is he an example of the general male population.
Joseph: I don’t mean any of this negatively, c”v, becuase I believe you mean well. But i asked if you were married, because usually this is an issue that a married person understands better than a single man. In adition it is clear to me that as much as a woman innately wants to look pleasing, she also innately posseses the quality of tznius
And about your last point I vehemently disagree with your line that tznius is contovertial like kollel is. Kollel is optional, tznius is not. Tznius is not controvertial. It is only certain “gray areas” that need to be carefully maintained depending where you live. The ikarim must be there always. Each woman must consider her tznius as her spiritual mitzva and be on the lookout constantly to make sure that she is fulfilling it in its entirety.
Just for the record, I have never lashed out at someones tznius, and I am a big proponent of tznius. (I dont think anything I have written should give you cause to think otherwise) My whole point to you is, assuming we are on the same side of wanting to increase the tznius level in our communities, i disagree with your general approach of giving tochacha (as i have dileneated above).
Regarding your last question about my use of the internet:
Another poster (Zalman) asked me the same question a few days ago on the divorce thread and I actually answered him, but it wasn’t posted. So I’ll answer you and him again now:
His question (AND YOURS) was how I am so familiar with YWN, and the comments from a few months back. The answer is that I never went onto yeshivaworld before, but someone told me about it and so for two evenings before I even registered myself on this site, I sat and perused the “out of the mailbag” section randomly, getting a kick out of the different discussions and posters. And then I decided to participate as well.
regarding your next question, I have mentioned that I have no computer at home, but I did not say I am not familiar at all with the internet facilities. Years ago, we used to have one becuase I needed it for a job. Today, if I need something, I manage with the library computer. (But since it is so inconvenient, I usually must do without)
About being familiar with the acronym “imho” I actually saw it here last week and had no clue what it meant, but then another poster wrote back, “in YOUR humble opinion…” so that clarified it for me!:) . hope that answers your questions satisfactorily.
tvt, I tend to agree with your point, and in fact I made this exact same point near the top of this page. “supernatural” stories should not be “proof” to us about these things.
But, I don’t have a problem with repeating or hearing a story that has an important lesson, despite the fact that it may have an unusual twist to it. As long as one always keeps in mind that their emunah should not be hinging on the outcome of that story, for it may be false.
No reason to get nasty to make your point.
I was careful to quote the Rav who I heard this piece of “his story” from. Just keep in mind that just because you haven’t ever heard of it, doesnt negate its veracity, and frankly at this point I am more open to believing his version than yours. If you think back to the time of early chassidim, you dont find that the “litvaks” dressed differently than chassidim (for example, there is a picture of the netziv wearing long payos). So it makes sense to me that at some point the dynamics changed.
In another blog I explained the reason why bnei torah where black and white. it is not a matter of frumkeit, but a matter of how one wants to be perceived.
In my opinion if he feels more comfortable in jeans working around the house, let him wear jeans. I know of hoshuv people who have “work clothes” for the house. i think though, that many people who are used to wearing “yeshivish” clothes may be uncomfortable donning jeans even in the house, and even in private. It is a personal preference of what youre comfortable with.
The sefer being “controvertial” was according to the Rabbonim, (some, obviously) not the townspeople. The Rabonnim, who deal with people on a personal basis also saw how such a sefer can be detrimental to a jewish home. Part of the issue was that advocating things that are “extreme” in certain circles are not beneficial to yiddishkeit or to a healthy productive life.
You ask what is wrong with style from 5 years ago. My answer is that as far as i’m concerned, nothing is wrong. Personally, I prefer classy things that are “in style” for 20 years too. But, being that you are a man, you probably have no concept about women wanting to dress individually and tastefully, and no, it is not necessarily a problem. It is inherent in every healthy woman to want to look her best, (as it is healthy and normal for husbands to want thier wives to lok pleasing to them.) and her job is to ensure that it is begadrei tznius.
Just curious: are you married?
“well, to Think big and all the others who have commented on this post. Interestingly, most of the comments are negative, which is VERY illustrative of the readers of this website.”
Rabbi, may your ears hear what your mouth speaks! (or in this case, may your eyes read what your fingers type! hy, pray tell did you bring this up if you KNEW that most of the comments hers would be negative. It’s like waving a red flag in front of an angry bull and saying, “see, i told you he can’t control himself! ” Did you expect differently? What exactly did you expect, for goodness sakes? Did you even conside the ramifications of your post before you sent it off??
I am not PONTIFICATING about loshon hora. I am merely telling you to use your head before posting about such a “controvertial” figure (and im using that word in a kind way) Your letter was so full of nonsense, and backward reasoning that i could take it apart bit by bit, but i dont think I will bother, because I dont trust myself not to get into loshon Hora with this subject.August 13, 2008 8:41 pm at 8:41 pm in reply to: The greatest financial supporter of Torah Jewry in the world #634091
But, I disagree. Blame can be attached to people who willfully and purposely went agianst the Torah and rabbonim. good may have resulted in the Zionists actions but in Judaism we do not ignore the means by which we get to a goal.
Rabbi, i’m sorry you took offense. I did not intend to lump you together with Cantoresq in that you are in the same category, but I wrote ditto to you because what I answered him applies to you too. Namely, that our hashkafos do not run along the same line, so therfore there is little we can debate in the zionism issue. Once again, for the last time, I hope, our hashkafa is what we’ve been taught by our gedolim. If you disagree with that view, you are disagreeing with the gedolim (despite the fact that you want to claim that the gedolim don’t really hold by what we say they do. i say, the proof is in the pudding, look at their followers, and you’ll see what their beliefs are.)
“Our disagreement is about which way is the truth- no- let me rephrase this- which way is more applicable today, because I don’t want to imply that the chareidi/agudah way is “wrong”.” Rabbi, To me, what’s applicable is what our gedolim teach. What is applicable is to keep our eyes on the goal, which is to me mekadesh Shem Shomayim, to do all we can to bring the geulah. By investing in a “medinah” which tries to take us out of that, which tries to claim that this is the geulah…that is not going to bring us to our goal.
As I said, I’m really tired of this discussion, and I see all the other posters are smarter than me. They all abandoned this blog when they realized the futility of this, and only I (and joseph) remained to fight it out. I do think you try to open your mind to hear–for this I give you credit. But as i see it, what needed to be said was said on both sides, and at this point we are all just wasting our time. So, I wish you the very best, and we will iy”h meet again on other happy occasions.
The “sefer in question” has been somewhat controvertial even in Lakewood Ir hakodesh, from what i’ve heard, for the reasons I stated, plus others. Personally, I see a value to it for some people, and toatally inappropriate for others. Therefor, it cannot be a book for the hamon am. (imagine Satmar putting out a book on tznius: seamed stockings, hat on shaitel, etc. would it be accepted in other kehillos?)
Of course I realize that men are affected, but to suggest that the mitzva of tznius is solely to protect the men is doing severe injustice to the mitzva. A woman (and man) is supposed to be tzanua even amongst people of their own gender, and even in private.
Another reason that women’s Tznius is a “mens issue” is for the same reason that men learning in kollel is also a women’s issue: It is a partnership which both need to be on the same page for. Often, much more often than you would care to admit, it is the men who insist that their wives dress in the manner they do. All of “fashion” is probably based on that, getting the attention of men. Our men are not immune. So I definitely agree that if we are going to address the issue of tznius, men need to be on board so that they could support their wives in dressing more tzanua, and not c”v make them be nichshal.
However, I will stick to my assertion that when it comes to specifics, it is neither wise nor tzanua for the men to do so in a public format. Please note that in the Lakewood asifa, it was a woman who went into the specifics for the women. I am sure that was not a coincidence.
You write, “So I think this thought that only women should be addressing such specifics stems from a 21st (or 20th) century approach towards gender, propogated by the secular world.” Again, (besides for the possible tznius issue–which as you said needs to be addressed to a competent rav) I base my view largely on what is EFFECTIVE, not just what’s right.
(You may have wondered why I use the screen name think BIG. It is actually a pet peeve of mine. You see, humans often have a tendency to think small in so many important areas. When a person thinks small, or narrow, they see things as black and negative and focus on blame. He focuses on petty or unimportant details, or thinks along lines that are simply innefective. When a person’s consiousness is expanded, his thoughts are more solution oriented, and he’s able to see things in a much more positive and TRUE frame of mind. Often two people see the same reality but come to two separate conclusions. Hence, they live in two separate realities. Think BIG is a reminder to myself to have expanded consiousness as opposed to constricted consiousness.)
(I remember my driving teacher used to say, “you can be dead and right at the same time”.)
My point here is that being right is not what counts, being effective is. And in my opinion, as a woman, it would be far more effective for girls and women to hear these messages from other women, who are models of tznius and good taste, and could relate to their struggle, as opposed to a man.
You know that I work in a girls school. The men on staff do not get involved in the tznius on a personal basis. They leave that up to the women. So, i know that my “opinion” is not mine alone, and propbably does not stem from a 21st century mentality.
Regarding your statement, “Perhaps the more correct term for what you are describing is minhugim or customs of tznius, rather than “gray areas.” I think gray areas are understood to mean areas that the law is not entirely explicitly clear and requires additional input from our Rabbonim.” Call it what you will, but I am referring to customs that the law has not said that it is assur, yet people in certain kehillos find them to be attractive, hence they would be assur.
As regards to the style issue, maybe a year is not enough, but that wasn’t the point. I obviously was not referring to a style that is inherently pritzus. For example, a while back it became the style to wear very long skirts. Nothing inherently wrong with that. The teachers in my Bais yaakov would admonish the girls if their skirts were too long. Then the style became even longer, down to the shoes. It no longer was a problem to wear it several inches above that, which was the problematic length before.
In the chassidish school, Bobov (Bnos tzion) in Brooklyn, years ago the uniform in the high school was to wear a sort of vest which was similar to a men’s vest. Then about 15 years ago or so, it became the “style” to wear that type of vest. Thats what they were selling in the stores. Bobov discontinued that part of the uniform, and actually forbade it. (I dont know what they do today, now that its no longer in style) I can give you ten of such examples, but i will spare you. The point is that we are obviously NOT referring to clothing that is inherently pritzus, or trash style, as you put it, for that is never allowed. We are referring to articles of clothes that come into style, but are otherwise refined and tzniusdik.
Finally, you want to know my personal opinion of jean skirts, and I’m afraid that I will have to pass on that. My personal opinion hardly matters. What I do know is that the material “denim” was accepted years ago in many (chassidish) places where they are not today. For example, I know someone who went to camp Gila, many years ago, and remembers when the camp instituted a new rule that denim skirts were no longer allowed. Up to that point, they had no issue with it. Over the years the jean skirts began to take on a new “tzurah” (faded, ripped, tight) which certainly did not befit a bas yisroel. But you can still find denim or jean skirts that are refined.
To the best of my knowledge, jean skirts are accepted in Bais Yaakov style camps,(if I’m wrong, someone please tell me) and among Bais Yaakov girls in America. It has never been considered to be the same as a man wearing jeans, which i agree with you is not acceptable for a ben torah. (perhaps one can say it’s because goyim [often lower class, or casual dressed] wear jeans, whereas no goy wears a long denim skirt!) Of course, some people who try to have a higher level of tznius than what is accepted, choose to stay away from them (and other things that are otherwise considered acceptable). But again, my personal opinion hardly matters. What matters is what those bigger and better than me decide.
noitallmr: thank you for that message.
If only it could be as easy to do as to say! But then again, l’fum tzaara agra!
I would like to report that I had a conversation this week with a Holocaust survivor about how chasunahs were celebrated in Europe, in her hometown. She said it took place in the home, with the meal in the dining room, and the dancing was done in two separate rooms, one for the men, and one for the women. She came from a little town near Hungary. If anyone has info about how it was celebrated in towns in Lita, it would greatly interest me.
cantoresq: To tell you the truth, I am tired. Tired in general and tired debating such a topic when the two of us have such diametrically opposing views in areas such as Emunah, hishtadlus, emunas chachamim, hashgacha pratis etc, (as I can see from your two posts and many others on this site.) And I feel like I’m simply wasting my time with this, because if we can’t agree on the ground-rules, so to speak, how can we build above it?
Your post is just so, so full of problematic statements, that I wouldn’t even know where to start. But, as you put it, you’re not interested in my “polemic”, so I will spare you my rebuttal.
If you ever come to a point where you feel you are ready to open your mind a bit to try to understand the “chareidi” point of view, (and you calm down a bit from your anger) I am sure you will know where to go to get your information. So for now and until then, I wish you all the best of luck in all your endeavors.
Rabbi of berlin: Ditto to you. As I have been saying all along, My view is based on the view of the gedolei torah, who show us how to view all aspects of life… But since we don’t agree on that…there is very little else to say on the subject, as far as i’m concerned.
Rabbiof berlin: If you care at all about the honor of the “tzaddik” Shloimele, you would NOT HAVE STARTED THIS BLOG. Do you really want to get people started…? As i type, I must control myself from exclaiming how you can bring up this “tzaddik” constantly on a blog which you know is populated by yeshiva and chassidish people…But it is assur to speak loshon hara, including on someone that is not here with us anymore. So, please, do us all a favor and refrain from mentioning him again.
ok, all of you, lay off of mariner. It is obvious that he was talking out of anger, and frustration. We all get frustrated at times. The reason why he was angry, I thought, was because it is frustrating to feel like you need to defend yourself when you are in the right. True or not, we can all relate to that feeling one way or another.
Rabbi of berlin, I was not “appalled” by his words, as you phrased it. I simply felt there was alot of energy there. Lets all try to debate the points in question, not the people in question.
Zalman: I feel your comments are entirely offensive without any basis for them. Where do you get the idea that mariner feels “inauthentic”? I thought it was just the opposite: he feels HE is the authentic one, and thats what his point was.
In regards to the clothing issue, your idea of the “jewish” mode of dress is supposed to look like the picture of the shtetel yid, yet you seem to forget about 4000 years of jewish history! My husband often (only half-jokingly says) that if Chassidus would have started in Texas, all chassidim would today be wearing cowboy hats and boots. Think about it. Theres alot of truth there.
It may interest you to know why the chassidim dress like they are stuck in a time-warp, while the non-chassidim dress more “modern,” like a “prusta goy,” if you will. I heard this bit of historical fact from R’ Avrohom Chaim Feuer, Shli’ta. I don’t know what his source is, but its enlightening just the same.
He says that in Europe, at a certain point in history, (not sure when) the powers that be made a decree that Jews were prohibited from dressing in a manner that makes them look like Jews. Some of the rules were that men were forbidden to sport beards, long jackets…and the women were forbidden to wear kircheifs. The penalty for disobedience was death.
The chassidish Rebbes felt that this decree is a case of “yeharog v’al yaavor”, and instructed their chassidim not to follow the new laws. The Litvish Rabbonim felt that its assur to risk one’s life for this, and must be followed. That is when the yidden starting shaving, wearing short jackets, and the women began to wear wigs.
So you see, the issue with clothes is once again an issue with yidden followng the instructions of their own Rabbonim. This remains true until today, despite the fact that there is no death sentence over our heads.
A little bit of knowledge goes a long way.
Rabbi of belin:
I am not sure how you manage to do this on a continual basis, especially when i thought i was being so clear, but you obviously misunderstood my point.
On the outset, let me state clearly, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH A WOMAN ASKING A GADOL A SHEILA! There is absolutely no lack of tznius in entering his inner sanctum. The problem here is that they were not asking a sheila in halacha, or advice on a life issue, or even requesting a brocha, (the examples ypu mentioned) all of which would have been perfectly wonderful . In the story given, they were askng on a difficult Ramban.
If you don’t see the difference, you may want to read the rest of the post about learning for women being a means to a goal, rather than the goal itself. I believe it will be clear to you then.
And if you still don’t get it, perhaps it is because you are a man? I don’t know but I am not an “extremist” when it comes to these things, but its clear to me that any woman would understand that asking a question on the meaning of a Ramban to the gadol hador is just totally not appropriate.
About the veracity of this story, I did wonder about is, but I have heard it so much, that I feel it needs to be adressed in any case because of the ambiguous message it implies. I do not believe that Rav Shach was opposed, in principle or action, to woman learning at all.August 13, 2008 3:09 am at 3:09 am in reply to: The greatest financial supporter of Torah Jewry in the world #634089
Rabbi of Berlin.
So then what did you mean by the “mistakes made on both sides”?
I get the feeling that we are not referring to the same thing when using the term “gray area”. you write, “Afterall, it is halacha, gray or not.” and “The Rabbonim have always been specifying the boundaries of gray areas ” I do not agree with that statement, unless I dont know what you mean by “gray area”.
I went into a bit of explanation in another blog, (I think the bungalow colony one) about what i am referring to with that term, but I will try again, giving you some examples to explain my point.
When I refer to “gray areas” in Tznius, I am referring to things that are not “assur” per se, but may be considered untznius in certain communities. The halaha does not have a final decision on it. For women that are ffb, there is a certain ingrained binah on what is considered “tznius” that often BTs find bewildering. But it varies from place to place.
For example, in Eretz Yisroel, in one of the chassidish shchunot, I once saw a “kol korehs” screaming against the practice of women wearing “ponytail” Shaitlech. Also, jean skirts are completely out in EY, even among the Bais Yaakov girls. (to the best of my knowledge.) In America, those things are not considered problematic in the “mainstream” (non-chassidish) kehillos, except perhaps on a voluntary basis. There was recently a letter written by the Satmar community (in the US) against wearing white jackets. What is wrong with it, you may ask? It doesn’t matter, unless you are Satmar, because it is not something that the Litvish community would consider problematic.
These particulars are all “gray area” , again, depending where you live.
To give another example, in some paces it is perfectly proper for women to cover their hair with a big floppy hat. The halacha says that a married woman must cover her hair. The halacha does not specify with WHAT. But, in some place, if a woman wears a hat, or a bandana (as in the example brought by one poster) they would be flouting the sensibilities and the standard of that communities tznius.
Then you get into the kind of gray area which is really a matter of perspective or “opinion”. If someone wears something that is flashy or very stylish, it is not tznius . (this is what the BY girls are generally taught.) Now who will decide what is flashy or stylish? You may have one person who “feels” its perfectly fine and another who thinks its unacceptable. I am talking here from a bit of experience, again, with my job as a teacher. I may feel that what a girl is wearing is too tight, whereas the other teacher will disagree.
Which brings me to your last point, you write, “But they don’t change “for the next generation”…There is a fundamental concept in Tznius that you may be unaware of, again, I believe this is only taught in the Bais Yaakovs and not in the yeshivos. It is the concept of styles or fashion. The idea is that a woman should dress “attractive but not attracting.” She may dress in clothes that are somewhat in style, and NO she does not need to wear the same style that her mother and Bubby wore in previous generations!
But at the same time, when certain styles come out, they are somewhat eye-catching, and therefor a tzanua would stay away from it. A YEAR OR SO MAY PASS and the style is not so eye-catching anymore because everybody’s been wearing it forever, and no one notices it anymore, because a new style has taken over already! So, the logic goes, NOW it is perfectly okay to wear that style!
I admit this may sound really weird to a man who is used to black and white halacha, but think about it, and you might see the sense in it. THAT is what I meant by gray area.
According to Rav Falk’s book, wearing nail polish that is a light color is acceptable if it is the “minhag hamakom” to wear nail polish. and in truth, it is really like that for all these “gray areas”…
I hope I have given you enough examples to explain my point. Now, the answer is, (imho) is to somehow instill in the girls a sense of “kavod atzmi” and kovod for their neshamos, that they will on their own be able to feel what is appropriate and what is not. Because we cannot give a list of rules, which will include every possible type of clothing or accesory. It is neither necessary or correct, in my opiion, because these things vary from place to place, and are constantly changing.
The MOST important thing though is to understand the term “minhag hamakom”. It does NOT refer to what the local goyim are wearing, or even what the majority are wearing. It refers to what the chashuvei ha’ir are wearing, the “elite” crop in terms of yiddishkeit. Those are our models, and their standard should be the “minhag hamakom”. And of course, that places a big responsibility of those in that percentage in any locale, to realize that people are looking up them, and taking note.
My point was not only that girls, being that they are so sensitive when it come to their clothes, will not be accepting of mussar so fast, but also that I feel it is inappropriate and lacking tznius for a man to comment on womens clothes. Don’t you hear that? Do you feel comfortable saying to your neighbor/sister-in-law/cousin, “You know your clothes are too tight. I could see your form.” ?
I will not comment any further on the sefer, but I will say this as regards to your comment: “Our Rabbonim have been specifying the boundaries of dress from time immemorial.” al pi halacha there are 5 areas of a women that are halachically considered ervah (including kol isha and married womans hair). That is the extent of what or rabbanim have been specifying from time immemorial.
What is construed as tznius or lacking therof TODAY is largely “gray area”. So, a sefer that goes into specific details may be helpful to some in some areas in our days, but may not be applicable everywhere, for everyone and for the next generation. i fear that there may be much that, as a man, you are not familiar with in the concept of tznius for women.
I will be the first to tell you that it is certainly a huge problem today, and a great challenge for our girls. But approaching it by giving “tochacha” is like applying a bandaid to a tumor. It just covers it up, but does nothing to address the underlying issue. Girls dress the way they do for a host of reasons, and educating them about the beauty of tznius in concept–as apposed to clothing–is dealing with the roots, as apposed to the symptom.
actually, no, cantoresq. The logical conclusion to my thesis is that those who “believe” in Zionism come to recognise that It was “Kochi veotzim Yadi” and that it actually was not the answer to our “jewish dillema”. The answer to our long and bitter Galus will only come with the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, and the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash. Zionism attempted to “fix” the problem, causing many new ones in its wake. You cannot force the geulah through power, but through prayer and adherence to the Torah. Zionism succeeded in pulling many of our people away from Torah. Zionism was distraction for many who unfortunately ceased their yearning and pleading for the true geulah.
You are mistaken, cantoresq. I am not “happy” about being right. I am sad about the damage the Zionist propaganda has wrought, and I am sad that people like you cannot see it even now when it has become so obvious how Zionism has deluded the jewish people.
If you have been following the conversation, you would realize that nobody was suggesting that now, after the fact, we think we would be better off if Eretz Yisroel reverted back to Arab hands. We debated the issue and clarified that it was a result of the advent of zionism that the arab world looks like it does today.
you write, “Those of us who grew up with a strong mighty and feared Medinat Yisrael, don’t really know what galut means. After all we had the chayal and the chalutz to admire, as opposed to weak and cowering ghetto Jew of yore.” That, cantoresq is precisely where the problem lies. The zionists succeeded in glorifying the mighty chalutz who has abandoned yiddishkeit, and to denigrate the “weak and cowering ghetto jew” who was actually a giant of spirit, a soldier of the greatest army of Hashem, who was willing to be moser nefesh for his yiddishkeit.
The rest of your paragraph proves what I began with, that Zionism attempted to show that if we have a state, we are not truly in galus anymore. It pains me that you think me/us smug. In fact it is sadness, mixed with a strong attempt at upholding Torah -true yiddishkeit in the face of blatant disregard of all that is holy.
guys, enough. You are embarrassing yourself. (it is not important who started it, but who ends it.)
Whether the man was actually a descendant of Amalek or not is not the point. It is well known and accepted that Hitler and the nazis y”s are considered the “spiritual” descendants of Amalek. I dont think it was merely “psychological support”. The idea is that Rav Kanievski knew that the soul of the man was from Amelek. (If you had the opportunity today to put a bullet thru Hitler’s head, would you hesitate?)
Illnio and Gavra:
Thank you for your imput. The bottom line is that “chanoch l’naar al pi darco” applies in a school setting as well. It is not enough that teacher adopt a balanced approach, but also to try to tailor to the needs of the individual students. This is alot easier said than done, as sometimes, half the school year can go by before getting to the crux of the student’s issues.
Rabbi of Berlin, :
You made a good point, but you misalign jojo unjustly. He was not advocating ignorance for woman. The difference between your take on this duiscussion and his is that you are viewing this as an idealist, and he is talking like a realist (or at least in more practical terms) Both aspects are valid and necessary in chinuch habanos.
I WOULD like to comment on the story about Harav Shach zt”l, as I feel that this is one of those stories which are often misunderstood or misconstrued. I personally feel that this story has an important message when viewed in the correct context. (not that i know for sure that my view is the only correct one.) But for those who have found this story bothersome, consider the following take on it:
Two girls in seminary have a problem in a difficult Ramban. They decide to present their question to Rav Shach, and wait for a long time in the waiting room, along with many others who have come to seek blessing or advice on crucial issues from the Tzaddik. Finally they are allowed in to the inner sanctum of the Gadol Hador.
And what do they ask him? A question on the Ramban! Don’t any of you see anything inappropriate in that? To me, it smacks of a lack of tznius, of a lack of propriety and maybe a bit of arrogance as well. When I think about what these girls did, I blush in shame at their utter foolishness. How many of you girls and woman out there reading this would consider doing such a thing? How many men would consent to their wives/daughters doing this?
I love to learn torah! I love to learn Ramban! But, girls, know your place!
As i undersatnd it, Rav Shach recognised this utter lack of apropriate behavior and gently rebuked them in his own inimitable way by asking if they can bake kugels. Not that that is women’s ultimate goal. But these girls took their learning out of context as well. For women, learning is not a goal in and of itself. Rather it is a means to a goal.
So, no, I don’t think Rav shach was trying to minimize the importance of Torah learning for women. His comment was addressed to these girls and should not be taken out of the context of the story in which it was said. His comment was completely appropriate and deserved!
According to the gemara, Learning Torah is the antidote for the yetzer hara, for men. For women, the antidote to the yetzer hara is tznius. The role of the woman is to use her Torah knowledge to know how to actualize her potential as a bas yisroel. These girls certainly did not behave in a tzanua fashion, displaying that they did not know their role.
JOSEPH: oK, if you say i should be grateful that i haven’t been exposed, I am, but I’m even more grateful that my husband and i made the decision not to have a computer, as besides for all else, it is very addictive. it is fascinating to me that with a few clicks one can be connected to people all over the world.
So, what else can I say? I live “out of town”, I am married to a choshuv yungerman with several little childern, b”h. I teach part time and spend the rest of my time doing what everybody else does, I guess. That’s all I’m willing to say for now on this public forum…hope that satisfies your curiosity!
Tzippi: believe it or not, I cannot even type! I am of the “two-finger” typers…(though I did learn in school, I never had practice!)
yes, I suppose so
nameless, as I said to another poster with a similar line, the truest way to “know” someone is to know his /her mind. I have certainly given over a piece of my mind to practically every room on this site.
Or did you mean you want to get to know me personally? I would like that, as I find your posts interesting, but how to go about it? I am going home in a few days and don’t have internet there…
Thank you for this post. It is something to be reminded of every now and then!
Joseph: I will disagree with you on this one. When it comes to Tznius, the idea of having a man notice and rebuke a lack of tznius on the part of a female dressed inappropriately, is in itself lacking in tznius. There are other ways around it, like mentioning to a female who you have in common with the “tznius offender” to sensitively mention it.
You have to realize that in this topic, women are very sensitive and it simply isn’t effective to “give tochacha”. As I have mentioned previously, I work with bais yaakov girls, and I can tell you the situation is far from simple. It cannot be a open and shut case that tznius is like every other mitzva which you can go over to anyone to give tochacha. It requires a lot of sensitivity and know-how for it to be effective. Girls and women just do not appreciate being told that they dress inappropriately and certainly not from men. It is a tough sitaution, but sadly true.
Additionally, I have an issue with men going into specifics about women’s clothing. There is a widely -studied book (sefer ) on all tznius areas possible which has become quite controvertial, partly because it was written by a man, and was very specific. People have been very turned off by the whole idea. There are b”h enough women out there who can tackle these subjects in a sensitive and refined manner.
In summary, while you may be in the “right” (and i’m not sure you are) that when you see an area that needs tochacha it should not matter what mitzva it is (shabbos, tznius or otherwise), it is more important to be effective than to be right.
Thank you for the reminder, which I’m sure we could all use. May Hashem help her return to her roots in a healthy, positive manner, soon.
In case you are unaware, there are frum support groups for parents such as you, and also hotlines providing guidance. Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz of project YES is an amazing resource. If you care to join support group or need guidance, I may be able to give you a number of an organization that has helped people I know tremendously. Hatzlacha rabbah!
Mariner, whoah! While you are saying that you don’t want the chassidim to say you’re wrong, you have no issue telling them they’re wrong. You seem to have alot of anger about this subject, and I can hear why. I hear your point that the Chasidish way being new(er), so it should be them on the defense, not the other way around. But at this point it has been around for so long, as to be considered almost on equal footing, so what can you do?
I feel that whereas Litvish Gedolim may say the Chassidim are wrong (as did the holy Vilna gaon) the newest crop of Chassidim can hardly be faulted for being born into a Chassidish family, and for them to change their minhag, nusach etc. would be wrong. There are enough chassidish poskim that can answer any of these questions, of why what they do is muttar. Also, many chassanim would not have the guts you had to go against their father when it was their own minhag. When you choose a derech that is different from your father, you have to know how to pick your battles.
I agree that a lot of this comes from ignorance, but from both sides. At this point the Chassidish minhagim (along with their emphasis on segulos etc.) have been around for a while and has affected (for better or worse) even the real true Litvaks. By the same token, one can observe that the emphasis on learning, dikduk on halacha etc. has rubbed off on the Chassidim as well. These days, we see much “intermarriage” and much more cooperation between the two groups. In fact, the term chassidish and litvish have become so vague by now, as to be almost irrelevent.
Let me tell you a beautiful and telling story I heard years ago on this subject. I cannot vouch that the story is true, but the message is certainly worth hearing in our day and age. I will repeat it as I heard it. Anyone who knows the story, or has other details, feel free to add/correct.
Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l and Rav Yoelish Teitelbaum (the Divrei Yoel–Satmar Rebbe) zt”l were once sitting together at a function. Rav Aharon turned to the Satmar Rebbe and remarked what a strange circumstance this was that he, the “leader” of the American Litvaks, and he (Reb Yoel), the unquestionable leader of American Chassidim are sitting at the same table. “What do you say to that?”, he asked him.
Rav Yoelish answered with a parable:
There was once a gvir that had two daughters. He found for the first one an outstanding bachur, a real torah scholar. The son-in-law had one condition to the shidduch. He said he must be given a meat meal every day. The rich man agreed happily.
For the second daughter, the rich man found another worthy so-in-law. This one stipulated that he must be fed a Milchig meal every day. The gvir agreed to this term as well. They all lived together in the same house.
Nu, what can you do? This one wants meat, this one wants Milk, they cannot eat at the same table! So each day, the sons-in-law ate their meals at two separate tables.
In time, the father-in-law’s fortune took a turn for the worse, and he began to have trouble meeting his obligations. The meals went from meat to chicken, from Cheeses to milk. Eventually, he lost almost all his money and all he could afford was potatoes. He turned to his two sons-in-law and said, “When YOU were eating meat and YOU were eating milk, I could understand that eating together was impossible. But now you are both eating potatoes,…we may as well sit and eat together.”
Reb Yoel concluded by saying, “amohl, it was the case that a chassid was a true chassid, and a litvak was a true litvak. It was obvious that they could not work together. But today, the generation is so weak and a chassid is not a true chassid anymore, and a litvak is not a true litvak anymore. We may as well work together and strengthen each other!”
If that was true in those days, how much more so today.
Yossi g. I appreciate your points. I find oftentimes a story is told over, and the message is vague at best, and easy to misconstrue at worst. An example that comes to mind is the one where two girls come to Rav Shach for a pshat in the Rambam, and Rav Shach asked them if they know how to bake cakes and kugels…(it has been mentioned on one of the other blogs) I , for one, appreciate the story and find deep meaning to it. But I have heard this story being completely misunderstood…People need to bear in mind that when a Rav says something to someone, it may just be that it is applicable to them, and the wording is forceful to make a point, and not that it is his shita per se.
About the point that we see the greatness of Rav Chaim Kanievski, that we have a man in our generation who can “see” so far: For those who have issues with that, let me tell you an interesting tidbit thay say over about Rav Moshe Feinstien zt”l.
They say about him that if you were in a car passing through Manhattan, and you would pass skyscrapers, he would be able to tell you at a glance how many windows that skyscraper had.
Now, is that really true? Do I believe that? I don’t know but they aint saying that about me or you!!
So, is this story really true?? Did r’ Chaim really “know”? I don’t know for sure, but they’re not saying these stories about me or you! So, I believ that it certainly CAN be true.
Mattisyahu, I appreciate your response. It is unfortunate that we keep debating the veacity of stories rather than learn a point.
Personally, when I hear a story such as this, I don’t get wowed by the “supernatural” aspect of it. If there was no lesson, in my opnion, the story would be pointless. The danger of repeating these types of stories is that some people base their entire belief on these stories (subconsiously, of course). That’s why i prefer stories that involve tikkun hamidos and such (see the story on shviras hamidos on a new blog)
I remember years ago, the story went around that remains of what appeared to be Noach’s ark were discovered in the area where Noach was aupposed to have landed….I remember some people were saying, “wow, that proves that the story of Noach was true…” A wise person taught me at the time that having that perspective is a mistake. We do not believe things based on stories. Because if we did, if the story were ever discounted, there would go our beliefs. We can repeat and enjoy such stories for interests sake, always keeping an open mind. Sure enough, that report about “Noah’s ark” was found to be fraudelent two years later.
In this particular story, the message I took out is that Hashem runs the world, and every “accident”, however unfortuante is by His design. It also teaches me the greatness of our Chachamim and Gedolim. Here is a leader who practically doesn’t step out of the daled amos of Torah, yet, he has far-reaching vision.
For those who don’t like the “it’s okay he died, he was an amaleiki” idea, just bear in mind that he killed the man by accident. It was only after the fact that he learned that he was from Amalek. He realized Hashem used him, though unwittingly, to carry out this mission. He was just a pawn. In this case, he had the gift of understanding as well, thanks to the letter of R’ Kanievski.