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VIDEOS/PHOTOS: Sheitel-Burning Hafgona In Meah Shearim

The attached videos and photos were taken at a Sheitel-burning Hafgona in Yerushalayim on Sunday night. A large crowd gathered at the intersection of Shmuel Hanavi and Yechezkel and cheered as a large Menorah-shaped structure topped with Sheitels was lit on fire and burned.

Credit: Dovid Cohen

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

42 Responses

  1. It’s likely that this was not because of a psak halacha from a rav, although not impossible. We could therefore conclude that the instigators are a bunch of nut jobs. Why publicize the activities of head cases? Does this bring kavod to Hashem, to Klal Yisroel, to the frum oilom? Maybe you wish to demonstrate how badly some fools behave? So, why not do a detailed write-up of the many thousands Israelis serving prison sentences….. Or the tzibbur of mental patients in Israel? I already know at least one answer. Because THAT wouldn’t be “news.” But, now, we all know that there are crazies in the Chareidi tzibbur. And we’ve been mekadesh shem shomayim by broadcasting it on the internet to the entire world.

  2. I wish this article would provide context so people in the comments won’t rush to judge negatively. I assume they had a good reason to do this, otherwise it would be an aveirah of bal tashchis

  3. This was the article printed about this event:


    This past Sunday, on the fifth day of Chanukah, a large wooden menorah burned in Yerushalayim- while hundreds of people danced around it and sang praises to Hakadosh Baruch Hu!

    It wasn’t an ordinary menorah- this menorah had special meaning.
    On each wooden branch a sheitel was placed ready to be burned. Many more sheitels were placed in a large garbage can nearby. These sheitels were given to be burned by the many nashim tzidkanyus who recently discovered that the current wigs contain Indian temple hair- hair that is completely forbidden to be worn according to our Gedolim. This hair was taken from the heads of Indian women who were sacrificing their main beauty to their idols- as an offering to be accepted by their avoda Zora. The Indian women chant and pray during the cutting of their hair, certain that their hair is reaching their idols. This same hair is being distributed worldwide, flooding the human hair industry, and making its way in to all the wigs on the market today. It is the most desirable hair in the wig industry, the most similar to European hair and the most abundant unprocessed lustrous affordable hair available.

    There is no regulation in the hair industry so corruption is rampant. Indian temple hair is constantly relabeled and rebranded before being sold to the Jewish wig market as “European, Russian, Brazilian etc”. Almost all of the wigs being sold today contain Indian temple hair no matter how they are labeled. Rav Elyashiv ztl stated that this hair is completely forbidden to be worn- even one Indian hair renders a wig forbidden. A letter recently released to the public by very respected Poskim in Israel states that there is no way to have a reliable hechsher on the wigs – they are therefore all forbidden to be worn.

    The women who sacrificed their wigs this past Sunday did so with contentment that they are doing the complete Ratzon Hashem! As the flames devoured this symbolic menorah with the forbidden wigs placed on top a feeling of excitement and happiness permeated the air! This was only the first of many fires to come!

  4. This was done 13 years ago because of the same issue with tikrovas avoda zora in the wigs- the problem never went away and Rav Elyashiv zt”l never changed his psak that this hair is completely forbidden to be worn in a wig. The fires then were totally accepted as normal- who would want to wear avoda zora on their heads?? It’s no different now.

    There are many people that do hold by Rav Elyashiv and they are taking this very seriously. There was a lot of recent research that shows that Indian temple hair is in almost all the wigs- especially the higher end wigs that frum women wear. And there also has been a lot of research about the tonsuring process- clearly showing evidence that this is a serious and complicated issue- not to be taken lightly. There are many Poskim in Israel and the US looking in to the matter seriously.

  5. I think it’s hysterical. Does anyone think these super-long sheitlach belonged to MS women? Come on! I hope they paid full price for them, if they are takeh human hair (OMG Avodah Zorah!) they can run up to 10,000nis +.

    Frankly, I think they should have burned the filthy ratty looking ones their women wear. Better yet, those burqas.

  6. Takes2-2tango- honestly its the Chasidims Shtriemlich that i am jealous of. Shtriemlich are glorious and exquisite.

    american_yerushalmi – You have aright to your own opinion whether it be a wrong opinion or a right one. Therefore even if a Rav did paskan you can still feel that they look like Nut-jobs. Whether they are Nut-jobs or not is another thing.

    Rebbe Yid – Should we burn them 😀

    UncleMo – Its not Iran. in Iran such a level of freedom of speech would not be entertained never-mind tolerated.
    Not getting involved – what activities would you suggest adding to their schedule that will change their attitude towards shietles that this article has yet to describe their nature thus enabling us to formulate informed opinions.
    2929 – are Jews a religion or a reality? we all stood at Har Sinai and received the Torah religion or not. We do have religious energies within us, but thats just part of our whole system. Ultimately Jews the Torah and our obligation don’t fall under the umbrella of religion rather under the umbrella of reality. Reality – what do you do after you leave Egypt and received the Torah from G-D.

    refoelzeev – Good point

    dancingmom – Thank you for the information.

    Yagel Libi – Without the paraphrase do you truly believe that people who burn shietles will burn people!?
    If you want to take issue with the burning there is room for you to do so without resorting to the extreme possibilities that burning can lead to. For example burning anything is an extreme statement. Is such an extreme statement always necessary?

    Rabbi of Crawley – Haredism must be judged with an overall look at both history and the preasent. all groups have their issues. what are each groups issues. compare those issues to each otherand then judge who are the fairest of all. personally i cant imagine how anyone would come out ahead of the Haredim. Sure do i have my opinions on this and that yes but I don’t see anyone else truly out to continue the true existence of the Jewish people as the Haredim. It difficult! can one be a true Ben Torah and not be Haredi!? all alone!? its hard enough that the majority of the world makes us feel alone. If Someone feels that they can build group of a significant size a group of true benie Torah that is with less issues then the Haredim let them try!? but as of the present there exists no alternative.

  7. Some of these coments are really disgusting. If someone follows a Rav who holds it is asur, why should we make fun of them? Because R’ Belsky said it is permitted? We have so many different opinions when it comes to halacha. For one to start making fun of the other is just terrible.

  8. Some of you keep saying “extremists” , which is an understatement, but where are you when some of these same behamas attack members of the IDF who wander into a shul to say kaddish, or a woman walks on the street with sleeves they consider to short. These are not just nutcases, they are mindless human beings who are dangerous to both their neighbors and to klal yisroel in general and we would be better off if something simply bad were to “happen” to them, lest they continue to threaten the klal.

  9. american_yerushalmi – So, what do you suggest? Should we just turn the other way, ignore the issues in the community and allow them to fester, grow and spread unchecked? These problems will not be solved without the active involvement of the community and the community needs to be informed in order to become involved. We need to be aware of the many problems that are growing in our midst. And don’t tell me that we should just leave it to the Gedolim. Clearly, that is not enough. They cannot solve all of these issues by themselves and, for that matter, they too need to learn of these problems in order to address them.

  10. Yagel Libi +
    Gadolhadorah – Both of you may be disgusted by burning shietels no matter what the reason is. OK fine thats your right!
    Still that does not make this shietal burning event a big issue. whoever is burning the shietals is not going to burn any people!!

    Gadolhadorah – There is concern with regard to the relationship with the IDF etc. but you must present the whole picture what is the IDFs attitude toward these protesters. are hey even the same protesteors that would attack Members of the IDF. We imagine the IDF member to be nice and civil just like American Police; are they??

    But what about the bigger picturewhat about the Israely Goverment and their attitude. What about Israeli history in regards to Judaism their own and that of other locations and what about etc. etc. etc. etc. theres a whole history here not just one article. Finally to wish death on people for burning shietal even with the added statement they are a threat to Klal yisroel is out of place and out of line.

    We cant judge the whole entirety of the world based on spitting or rock throwing.

  11. DancingMom,

    Thanks for the Info – I figured it has to do with A”Z.

    “Almost all of the wigs being sold today contain Indian temple hair no matter how they are labeled. ”
    “It’s no different now.”

    Is it possible that the very oneclaiming “Avodah Zarah” have another agenda as well? Like wanting to do with ALL Shietels?
    Like the one here (DM) posting many posts against ALL Sheitels:

    “There are many Poskim in Israel and the US looking in to the matter seriously.”

    Hmm the Kol Korah that a few have written was proclaimed more than a half a year ago, and so far – NO ONE serious was added to the list.

    Where are all leading Gadolim and Poskim IF true!? like Rav Nissim Karelitz, Rav Zilberstein, Rav Dovid Feinstein, etc…
    The pamphlet distributed against claims that Rav Landau from Bnei Brak knew about it ten years ago – so why is he silent? Where was he all this time?

  12. chilll – I not only believe but I know for a fact that history has shown us that certain social behaviors such as the public destruction of ‘offending’ artifacts is very often a precursor to systematic ideologically motivated violence against people. That does not mean that it will necessarily happen (nor, of course, that it will necessarily take the form of burning people) but yes, I am sincerely concerned. And anyone who follows the news cannot fail to see the growing propensity of certain elements in the community, whose common denominator is an extreme sense of insularity and alienation from other Jews, to resort to violence against such other Jews. No, I am not alarmed and no one is burning people yet and God willing it will never get that far but yes, there is real cause for concern for the future .

  13. hml,

    “Frankly, I think they should have burned the filthy ratty looking ones their women wear. Better yet, those burqas.”

    No one normal wears any Burqas, these are ultra nutcases – not the typical MS Yerushalmi – Having said that, why are you calling what they wear (Meah Shearim) “filthy ratty looking ones” I think it is totally disrespectful calling people so, that are following their Minhag i.e. that has been followed for hundreds of years!

    Especially, when it has a basis in Halcha i.e. covering your hair with a Matfachat and not with a Sheitel (Although we do not pasken like that, but when there is a minhag so – all agree it should be followed and not wear a shaitel – see MB ch 76)

  14. a psak halacha from a rav..the tzibbur of mental patients in Israel? …why should we make fun of them?…, blah, blah.
    Rabboisei- !! It’s Chanukah, no?? Burn sheitels next Tuesday or throw them into the Dead Sea for all I care. It’s Chanukah..!!! Why don’t they celebrate with songs, with family, with friends, with poor people. Where are the Poskim? Where are the Rabbonim?
    Then Chas veshalom, Al tiftech Peh, something not good breaks out, then we scream TSHUVAH… Cheshbon Hanefesh !!! Oy V’avoy..!!!
    Who is this bum with the American English accent at the end giving orders how to burn them? What’s he doing there?
    Has so much of the frum world gone insane? It’s Chanukah, Lemaan Hashem..!

  15. They , and supporters, and yoshvei kranos do-nothings, hangers-on are mexzalzel and disgracing our Yom Tov in public , befarhesyah for all to see and hear.
    You’re playing a dangerous game, WITH FIRE, against the laws and spirit of Chanukah. I’m not a rabbi, but never read anywhere that our forefathers did anything but respect this holiday, respect other Jews, and other good people.
    A protest can wait for another day. Is this what Hakodesh Borech Hu wants? Burn sheitels while holy candles are still burning in Jewish homes? Really?
    Remember …! Achan sinned at Jerico and other Yidden were punished…. Stop it..!! Stop playing with the welfare, health and lives of your fellow Yidden . Stop being foolish achzorim, especially on Chanuka.

  16. Yagel Libi: if this is a psak halacha (which it probably is not; even if one would be obligated to burn a sheitel because it contains AZ, it doesn’t have to be a spectacle with singing and dancing) — no amount of kvetching about it is going to change anything. And if they’re crazy, for sure kvetching is not going to accomplish anything. You know, maybe we should go visit mental patients in asylums and try to explain to them why their behavior is unacceptable. Debasing the reputation of the frum tzibur on the internet for all the anti-Semites in the world to see is not a productive measure. Save your energies for things that are solvable.

  17. Maybe these pyromaniacs finally realized that if a woman keeps her hair covered out of modesty, then a wig is not the covering of choice, because in many cases the wig makes the woman look hot ( pun intended).

  18. Alas. Who knows what this FIRE dance with a menorah facsimile no less, this despicable Chanukah night FIRE kanoiy display berabim already wrought by FIRE ? Painful to think about it. Excuses. Lomdus. Rachmana litzlan.

  19. For those that are interested more Rabbanim are signing this letter-

    Just recently Rav Ezriel Auerbach shlita signed the letter.

    And iyh more will be signing in the coming weeks

  20. “….But, now, we all know that there are crazies in the Chareidi tzibbur. And we’ve been mekadesh shem shomayim by broadcasting it on the internet to the entire world….”

    With all due respect, this was very important to publicize. When, and I’ll use loshon sagi na’or, a “good” thing happens R”L ,,when we hear calls for teshuva and a cheshbon hanefesh, and yiddelach go back home each in his comfortable “tachas gafno” and introspecting…., me??? And , however not…., questioning Hakodosh Boruch Hu, and even resenting the gezeiru and not understanding nor being able to explain, then we can pull up this little video and possibly see and answer. Possibly. .. A shtikel frame of reference… possibly.

  21. “And iyh more will be signing in the coming weeks”

    Interesting, how would you know that “more WOULD be signing”?

    Obviously, there is some agenda in play here.

    As I have read about this very issue, there are some of the ones decided to remove their shaitels for modest reasons (kol hakovod!) but in the long run, it is not working out for them, (for whatever reason..everyone else is wearing etc.). Thus they will try to delegitimize all the ones that are wearing one as doing the wrong…

  22. I suppose that because I wear a sheitel, yes human hair, no, not long, I belong on the bonfire too? That must be where the term “hot Chanis” came from.

    We all follow our Rabbonim & if a woman chooses to wear one, that’s fine. Many of my friends ONLY wear mitpachot & that’s fine too. But burning sheitels is certainly not going to persuade me to follow any Rav other than mine.

    I think what is more troubling is that these fanatics don’t stop. They just move on from fight to fight, the actual issue is irrelevant.

  23. Gaon- you are totally incorrect. Yes, I have an interest because the topic of kisui rosh interests me (as it does many women who cover their hair) , that doesn’t indicate that this is in any way an agenda plotted by anti sheitel people. That’s ludicrous. Rav Elyashiv ztl and the recent Rabbanim who signed the letter stating avoda zora is present in most of the wigs wouldn’t play around with something so serious (Rav Karp, Rav Wosner, Rav Rosenberg, Rav Ezriel Auerbach etc.. are big tzaddikim and very respected Rabbanim) . One issue has nothing to do with the other. This is a very convenient way for you and others to easily dismiss this very serious issue and just write it off as the works of some “some crazy anti sheitel people”.

    I have friends in Israel who send me the information as it happens – pamphlets were distributed all across Yerushalayim this past weekend. Many people received them. A lot of info about the Indian hair tonsuring process and the wig industry was written about in the pamphlets including an interview with frum people who have been in the hair industry for decades. The info was quite frightening and many people in Israel are reacting to this information and to the words of the many Gedolim who stated and are currently stating that this is still a very serious issue in the wigs. There’s even a hotline now in Israel about this topic where one can hear the words of the Rabbanim and Gedolim talking about this matter- including a recent recording of Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita.

    Before all the skeptics and mockers in the Klal dismiss this very serious concern and declare it -“the work of the anti immodest wig” people and use all sorts of derogatory names, maybe they should do some research on the subject. Have you contacted the Temples in India to ask about the tonsuring process, spoken to anyone in the har industry, actually gone down to India to see what’s going on in the tonsuring halls, interviewed wig makers and sellers, checked out the wig making factories in China…? If not, than you know nothing about the topic. This is what’s being done in Israel right now by Rabbanim and they are taking the matter VERY seriously as are many wig wearers there.

  24. american_yerushalmi : It is easy to dismiss them as mentally ill people: if their actions stem from mental illness then they contain no information about trends in the community at large. If this were one isolated incident I might agree. But for years now we have been witnessing more and more of such ‘insanity’ with a growing tendency towards violence. While I believe that such actions are taken by people who are morally flawed and admit that some measure of psychological issues may also be a factor it seems clear that their primary motivation is, for lack of a better term, ideological. I think that we need to recognize this worrisome trend for what it is and not discount it by claiming that is merely the manifestation of the mental illness of a few individuals.

  25. It’s easier to comment in a comment section of the internet then it is to be the Rav of a Kehilla and make a statement chastising that Kehilla, part of the Kehilla, or another Kehilla!!!

    It’s easy to make judgement s about other peoples past times when separated by Time Space And culture.

    Are there Rotten apples in even the best of communities? Sure! But being able to identify who the rotten ones are does not mean true understanding of what those rotten apples are about. “Knowledge of the beyond does not effect a change to the beyond to be relabeled as within reach.”

  26. Yagel Libi –

    There was a commentor here that wished ill to happen to these shietal burners. can extremist become dangerous sure they can, but that is not why extremism is wrong. extremism is wrongbecause its wrong in its essence. If extremism is the norm for a person, then he is not built properly period. Some times like every tool extremism is needed. To address extremism its the potential extrem outcome whether possible or not incites people to be extreme themselves and irrational; also it aviods the essential flaw of extremism. BEsides you know as well as ido that nutcases that are frum although they can cause damage cannot be compared to those who killed in history. usually the uncondonable killing in history has come from other types of Nutcases. So kiling is not the problem with frum nutcases. The true substantial problem is the following:

    1) What about their children. How will they grow up healthy.
    2) Their wives. How will they remain Healthy.
    3) etc.

    Notice by adress the essence of the issue rather than fighting extremism with extremism, my concern is for them nad their family rather than wishing something “bad” to happen to them.

    Know this that ‘the issue of extremism is not that it is not true’. No! it may be true. the issue with extremism is that extremism if overused will is flawed essentially.

  27. ” pamphlets were distributed all across Yerushalayim this past weekend.”

    Yes – by the very same Anti-Sheitel/Everything camp. It has been going on for the longest time. This is a new method of how Halcah is being distributed. Many Rabanim are upset at these extremists that spread the wrong info, they take one line of a Gadol and total misrepresent their true psak.

    I had already posted on the other thread how Rav SZ Auerbach’s daughters/DIL (that wear Sheitlach with the blessing of their father ) have bemoaned the very pamphlets and Kol Korahs spreading false psakim of Rav SZ ZTL.

    This should be dealt via Rabanim not by a few extremists, and THAT is the major issue here, and THAT is the very reason the above burning has occurred – i.e. extremists taking matters into their own hands!

  28. chilll – I wish no harm to any Jew. I wish the sheitel burners well and I certainly wish their families well and share your concerns for them. I’m afraid, however, that I am not as sanguine as you are and am far from sure that the ‘nutcases that are frum cannot be compared to those who killed in history’. I see the propensity for violence rising among ‘frum’ extremists of various stripes and I am concerned. They are, as yet, far too few in number to pose much of a threat but their numbers are steadily growing and it is not obvious to me that they are not capable of terrible things.

  29. ” Have you contacted the Temples in India to ask about the tonsuring process, spoken to anyone in the har industry, actually gone down to India to see what’s going on in the tonsuring halls”

    That is precisely Rav Belsky’s (and many others) position that the facts have been distorted…Rav Dunner did not get the facts correct when relating to Rav Elyashiv.

  30. This is not the way of Klal Yisrael to do such an act without the permission of a Beit Din.All this does is raise the animosity level at every side.Let every lady in our camps follow their minhag,and let this game of only my Shitta is right be stopped immediately.Remember Hashem wants a united Jewish camp regardless of their level of beliefs.Would that it should be that we were all of the level of the highest and the pure.But there is no way one can force someone to be holier than they feel that they should be at this point in their life.And as long as they are not doing any outright scorn or make fun of them is totally forbidden and incorrect to do.Can we not unite and do good deeds for our fellow Jews, instead of trying to find every bad that we can??

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